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Bemidji State men's hockey set for first practice

It has been over six months since the Bemidji State University men's hockey team skated off the ice at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. to cap the 2009-10 season.

Since falling to the University of Michigan, 5-1, in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional semifinal contest, head coach Tom Serratore and the Beavers have busy preparing to transition into to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and finalizing details for the opening of the Bemidji Regional Event Center.

That preparation will be bumped to a new level when the Beavers hit the ice at Neilson-Reise Arena at 10 a.m. Saturday for their first official practice of the 2010-11 campaign.

With just 13 days to prepare for its 55th season opener and 11th at the NCAA Division I level and first in the premier collegiate hockey conference, BSU will be hard at it again Sunday.

"What we want to do as we get practice underway is to develop our habits and make sure we have good structure," said Serratore. "We start with that mentality from the get go."

Next week, the team plans to move into is new hockey home and will showcase its new digs and 2010-11 roster in a Green/White scrimmage, Thursday at 7:07 p.m. The event is free and BREC doors open for the general public at 6 p.m.

"It's been a tough year and a really tough summer from the standpoint that its been morning to night," commented Serratore.

"There has been a lot on our plates. Not only were we trying to prepare for a new league, but our new building has consumed a lot of us, so it's really a breath of fresh air to skate onto that ice.

Ultimately that's what we are. We are hockey coaches--that is our passion and love."

Bemidji State finished 23-10-4 and 14-3-1 in CHA?play last season.

The home, BREC and WCHA opening series is Oct. 15-16 against North Dakota.