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Frozen Four: Enthusiasm for hockey drumming up clothing business

The Beaver Bookstore at Bemidji State University has been selling cases of Frozen Four T-shirts. New shipments arrive in the morning and quickly sell out. Shown above, Bookstore employee Sara Dye, left, sells a T-shirt to senior Leticia Blauert Tuesday morning. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Fans wishing to express their support of the Bemidji State University men's hockey team have been lining up to buy Frozen Four T-shirts and other hockey wear.

The commemorative T-shirts are selling faster than stores can keep them in stock. Fans are buying five or more at a time.

The Beavers made history Sunday as they defeated Cornell University 4-1 to clinch their first-ever appearance in the Frozen Four, the NCAA tournament for Division I hockey that will determine the national champion.

Local fans have gotten swept up in "Beaver fever."

Becky Huls, the manager of the Beaver Bookstore on campus, said the official Frozen Four T-shirts arrived late Monday.

And, students have been buying the shirts, which come in three different styles, ever since.

"There is a lot of spirit on campus," she said, noting that merchandise have sold quickly.

Frozen Four T-shirts and other Beaver apparel are available throughout the city at various stores. Additional merchandise will be coming in throughout this week and next.

Gary Zerott, who owns Cool Threads, said his phone has been ringing constantly since this past weekend, when Bemidji's win over Cornell propelled them to the Final Four.

He said Cool Threads will continue to receive new shipments and replenish apparel supplies daily between now and the Frozen Four.

Specifically, the Frozen Four T-shirts have been selling as quickly as he has been getting them in, Zerott said, adding that the shop is making specialty merchandise in honor of the occasion.

"We'll have our own, unique T-shirts for them for going to Washington, (D.C.)," he said, acknowledging that the term "Frozen Four" is a copyrighted trademark.

Meanwhile, existing hockey apparel is selling out.

Beaver hockey jerseys, especially, have been an often-requested item.

"We can't keep them in stock," Zerott said.

Support for the team has stretched across the country, he noted, saying that family and friends of area residents and students have been requesting BSU merchandise.

"People are calling left and right asking for it," he said.