BEAVER HOCKEY: New BSU women's coach Scanlan settling into college game
BEMIDJI — It’s been a month since he was hired as the fifth head coach in the history of the Bemidji State women’s hockey program, but for Jim Scanlan it hasn’t quite sunk in just yet.
And it may not until Sept. 26 — the date of the Beavers’ season opener at Robert Morris.
“It will be nice when it gets closer to the start of the school year and we’re all settled in here,” Scanlan said. “Right now it’s mostly a lot of paperwork and a lot of orientation stuff.
“But [Amber Fryklund and Shane Veenker, BSU assistant coaches] have been fantastic in this whole process.”
Scanlan, the former East Grand Forks girls hockey coach and athletics director, started at the beginning of the month. It’s his first foray back into college coaching since stints at Northern Michigan, Western Michigan and North Dakota in the late 80s and early 90s, and also his first time coaching college women.
One of his main goals when he started the job was simply trying to get to know his players. That’s a little more difficult in the summer, when most of them are back at home, but said he’s talked to nearly everyone on the roster — including the incoming recruits.
“I have talked to almost everybody on the phone,” he said. “Everyone seemed very excited for the upcoming season.
“And the girls have done a good job of getting on the ice and working out in the offseason.”
This season BSU will deal with the loss of six seniors and another transfer out of the program. However, there are seven freshmen scheduled to join the team this season, all recruited by previous head coach Steve Sertich (and assistants Fryklund and Veenker).
“They did a good job bringing in some quality players for next season,” Scanlan said.
Scanlan said he wasn’t sure if he was going to bring in any more recruits for this upcoming season, but he’s already getting a leg up on the years to come — he recently attended USA Hockey’s Girls Select U18 Player Development Camp in St. Cloud.
“It was good for me to see that level of competition all in one place,” Scanlan said. “I’d seen a few of them just coaching high school and playing in the state tournament last year, but to see all the girls from around the country in one place was good for me.”
Although he hasn’t had a chance to see most of his players in action live, he’s been watching film in preparation for their return.
That will give him some idea of the type of offensive and defensive systems he’s going to run, but he said he won’t know anything until he actually has time with them together on the ice. The Beavers have just a week between their first practice (Sept. 20) and their first series at Robert Morris.
“I think it’s going to take just bring with the team for a while to figure out what we’re going to do exactly,” he said.
The Beavers finished 11-21-4 overall last season and 8-17-3 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. One thing Scanlan made a specific note to improve was scoring. BSU finished seventh out of eight teams in the WCHA in scoring offense (1.78 goals per game) but said there are plenty of scorers on the roster.
“We have girls capable of scoring on this team,” he said. “Scoring can be so streaky sometimes but you can give them confidence to start scoring. It’s my job to get them there and figure out how we can score more.”