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Bemidji State men's hockey: Nagle coin set in concrete at each end of BREC arena

Former Bemidji High School goalie and a professional concrete layer Tim Port with Gustafson and Goudge, Inc. sets a medallion honoring Galen Nagle on the concrete floor inside the Bemidji Regional Event Center arena Wednesday afternoon. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Before the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, Canadian ice makers placed a Loonie coin on the arena floor under the center ice face-off dot before making the ice for the hockey tournaments.

The Canadian men and women won the gold medals.

In 2008, a Boston baseball fan buried a Red Sox jersey in the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium construction site.

At great expense, the jersey was chipped out.

Even the John Glas Fieldhouse on the Bemidji State University campus was infiltrated last summer when a member of the rival Alabama-Huntsville team placed a horse, representing their Chargers mascot, somewhere in the arena. It has yet to be found.

The Bemidji Regional Event Center, new home to Beavers hockey, will have its own talisman, or maybe it could be considered a memorial to a fallen teammate.

Tom Kaplan, a defenseman for the Beavers in the mid 1970s and current public address announcer, came up with the idea to place a Galen Nagle medallion in the concrete floor of the new arena.

Nagle was a goalie for the Beavers from 1980-84. He worked as a coach and teacher in Minnesota for several years before losing his life to cancer in 1996 at the age of 34.

"Galen loved hockey and he loved being a goalie," Kaplan said. "He was a lot like (former BSU coach) Bob Peters. He cheered for both goalies to perform well."

Kaplan says he got the idea from his knowledge of the Salt Lake City and Yankee Stadium incidents.

On Wednesday morning crews from Gustafson and Goudge, Inc. poured 320 yards of concrete on the BREC arena floor. Through Kaplan's friendship with professional concrete layer Tim Port, a former Bemidji High School goalie, a medallion was placed in the concrete at each end of the arena.

The medallion was inset and epoxied on the concrete.

"I understand it's not BSU's arena, (but) once the ice is on you won't be able to see it," said Kaplan. "I just wanted something special for a young man who loved hockey and loved being a goalie."

Each year the BSU hockey program sponsors the Galen Nagle Memorial Golf Tournament to raise money for scholarships. This year's event will be played July 16 at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.