WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Whenever the Bemidji State men's hockey team goes on a road trip, coach Tom Serratore makes sure the team is able to see the local sights.
The Frozen Four trip to Washington D.C. has been no exception.
After a spirited practice Wednesday, the Beavers took the opportunity to do a little sightseeing in the nation's capital.
Through Bemidji State alum Rachel Becker, who works in D.C. for the NHL's Washington Capitols, members of the team were able to take a special tour. After viewing the Capitol building and taking some pictures on the steps, the team was escorted to the floor of the House of Representatives and the inner chambers of Congress. Becker explained it was a rare opportunity not usually afforded to visitors.
While on the tour, the Beavers bumped into movie stars Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, who were also on a private tour.
After stopping at the Capitol grounds, the tour continued with visits to the WWII Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.
Each team involved in the Frozen Four, after practicing on Wednesday, held a national media press conference. The first question asked to Serratore was about the Beavers' road to the Frozen Four and the most commonly occurring theme from the media.
"It seems like it's all about fairy tales," he said with a grin. "I've heard Cinderella, David vs. Goliath, miracle - things like that. So I'm up on my fairy tales."
Even though it's been mentioned before, the police escort the Bemidji State team bus received from Dulles Airport to the Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington was truly a memorable experience.
At one point, BSU assistant coach Ted Belisle wondered out loud if such a thing happened at every Frozen Four.
"I don't know," Serratore said in an animated fashion, "but they're doing it at this one."
During the BSU press conference, Serratore relied on a quote he often uses concerning how the team prepares for games late in the regular season or the postseason. "The hay is in the barn," Serratore often says, meaning the hard work is done and now it's time to reap the harvest.
U.S. College Hockey Online correspondent Paula Weston cornered Serratore after the press conference and good naturedly asked what he meant by that. "You say that all the time. I'm from Syracuse, N.Y.," she said," and I don't understand. What does that mean?"
Serratore responded in classic fashion: "I guess that's just the country bumpkin in us," he said.
Out of the way
Another take on "the hay is in the barn" comment, this one from Boston University coach Jack Parker on Wednesday: "We cut practice short today. We liked the energy. At this stage in the game it is our job to get out of the way and let the boys play," Parker said. "We practice a lot of things all year and now it is time to let them play.
"I think they feel comfortable. I cannot make them creative, but I sure can take their creativity away. I can't make my team loose, but I can make them uptight. It is our job to stand aside and let the players play."
Anyone wearing Bemidji State gear around town has been constantly stopped by locals. Unlike the site of Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. where people routinely asked, "Where is Bemidji?" the Washington D.C. folks were saying, "We'll be cheering for you."
The question about what is or where is Bemidji had disappeared. Talk about the huge impact of all the national media attention for the Bemidji community.