BEMIDJI -- The 2012 Summer Olympics may currently be front and center, but for one Bemidji State hockey player, focus has been shifted to the winter games.
Erika Wheelhouse, senior captain of the BSU women's hockey team, has been announced as one of 79 players selected to participate in the 2012 USA Women's Hockey National Festival, set for Aug. 5-13 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.
A gritty defender, Wheelhouse, one of 15 current Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players invited to participate in the festival, has accounted for nine goals and 37 assists in 110 games for the Beavers.
With career highs of eight goals, and sixteen assists in a 24-point breakout a year ago, she will again anchor the Bemidji State blue line as a senior in 2012-13.
The one-week festival will culminate with the selection of a roster to represent the United States in a U-22 three-game series versus Canada in Calgary, Alberta, Aug. 16-19.
Attending the USA Hockey Women's National Festival are 21 of the 23 members of the U.S. Women's National Team that turned in a silver-medal performance at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women's World Championship in Burlington, Vt.
In addition, 14 of the players were on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, including four-time Olympian Jenny Potter, three-time Olympian Julie Chu and two-time Olympian Molly Engstrom.
The festival participants will be divided into teams for daily practices and games at the Schwan Super Rink, part of the National Sports Center. All practices and scrimmages are open to the general public.