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Former Beaver hockey players reunited in Rapid City

Riley Weselowski practices with the Rapid City Rush on Monday at the Roosevelt Ice Arena. Weselowski is the team's new defenseman. Photo by Ryan Soderlin, Rapid City Journal

It's always good to get together with the old college gang.

For Blaine Jarvis, Luke Erickson, Brendan Cook and Riley Weselowski, this reunion isn't as much rehashing old times playing college hockey for Bemidji State as it is creating some new memories at the pro level with the Rapid City Rush.

Jarvis of Gladstone, Manitoba, is in his second year with the Rush. Cook of Reston, Manitoba, signed as a player-assistant during the summer and Erickson of Roseau, Minn., joined the team in late October.

Weselowski became the fourth Bemidji alum on the roster when he signed last week, meeting up with the team in time for a pair of road games with the Missouri Mavericks and Wichita Thunder. Cook was unable to be there after returning to Rapid City for the birth of his first child.

The Rapid City-Bemidji connection is a big deal for Weselowski, 24, of Pilot Mound, Manitoba.

"That was one of the big reasons I wanted to come here. I was roommates with Jarvie for four years and really good friends with Luke and Cookie. They had nothing but unbelievable things to say about Rapid City and the program. I was pretty excited to come here," Weselowski said.

"We always talked about playing together after college. We had a great time together there and did well in college," Jarvis said.

"It's great having him on the team and he's going to help us."

Forward Luke Erickson was a sophomore when Jarvis and Weselowski were freshmen while Cook was a junior for the Beavers.

"I played two years with Cookie and three with Blaine and Riley," Erickson said.

Erickson said the built-in familiarity is a plus bringing Weselowski into the lineup.

"Jarvie and I played with him for quite a few years. He knows us forwards, what our tendencies are. As a D-man, we know what he likes to do as far as jumping into a play. It'll be a good mix here," Erickson said.

Weselowski said the strong Bemidji State men's hockey program, which advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals last year, is well-suited to preparing players for a pro career.

"Coach (Tom) Serratore does such a good job there making hockey players out of guys that come there," he said. "It's all about hard work in practice and it really prepares you for the next level."

Weselowski, who started the season with the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League, said his new teammates made him feel welcome right away.

"It's nice to have a good team and bunch of guys who have the possibility to make a deep run in the playoffs. I'm excited about the town and the chances this team has to make a run at a CHL championship," he said.