WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Hockey-raised Avery Achterkirch of Rogers commits to Bemidji State
The 17-year-old Achterkirch plays soccer and golf in addition to hockey, where she put up over a point-per-game last season for the Royals.
ROGERS — Avery Achterkirch of Rogers has grown up in an environment full of hockey. In fact, as far back as she can remember, she's been in love with the sport.
"My family kind of grew up in the hockey world," the 17-year-old said. "Everyone on my dad's side played hockey so I got involved and fell in love with the game right away."
The high school junior has plenty of Achterkirch family members currently involved in the sport. Her cousin, Emily Achterkirch, is in her second year as head coach of Avery and the Rogers girls hockey program after playing four years of Division I at Princeton.
Avery Achterkirch is heading into her junior season of high school hockey after posting 31 points in 27 games last year for a talented Rogers team that went 20-5-2.
"I'm a 200-foot player and I can see the ice well," she said of her playing style. "I'm always trying to put myself and my teammates in the best positions to be successful."
After a strong performance in her sophomore season, the Rogers native went on both a regular visit and a game-day visit to Bemidji State before announcing her verbal commitment on Oct. 30.
Junior #10 Avery Achterkirch has committed to play for the Bemidji State Beavers for the 2024-25 season!! Congratulations, Ave!! We are so proud of you and cannot wait to watch you continue your career with the @BSUBeaversWHKY— Rogers Girls Hockey (@RogersGirlsPuck) October 30, 2022
💙🖤🤍💚🖤🤍#RGH #RoyalsFamily pic.twitter.com/pCDvVWHLjU
"It felt like home and the culture that the team had created was just very inviting," Achterkirch said.
Along with the positive feeling that the 5-foot-5 forward felt on her visit, she also loved the feeling of the campus and how close to home she would be in college.
Driving from Rogers to Bemidji takes just over three hours. It's enough to be a decent road trip, but easy enough to travel home for holidays and special events.
Achterkirch has two seasons left of high school hockey and will hit the ice for Bemidji State in the fall of 2024.
Coming off of only a five-loss 2021-22 campaign with the Royals, Achterkirch and her teammates are hungry for more after losing in the Section 5AA semifinal to Centennial/Spring Lake Park.
"The end-game didn't really show what we were capable of. We had a ton of fun and we had the most family-oriented culture compared to other seasons," she said.
This year, the Royals are set up to have another big season.
"We have a lot of potential, we have a few really great returners and a few younger girls that are pretty insane."
Achterkirch made big improvements in her game going from freshman year to sophomore year. In ninth grade, the forward appeared in 15 games and scored seven points. In 10th grade, she scored 31 points in 27 games and was a top-five point producer for the Royals at age 16.
The Rogers native credits working on confidence and her mental game to her success out on the ice, along with getting more comfortable playing with her linemates.
Achterkirch has big expectations for the season and is excited to start playing games in mid-November.
"Always, the ultimate goal is the state tournament, but even getting to a section final and just having fun and enjoying hockey, creating friendships, is the goal too."
Achterkirch doesn't just have skills out on the ice, but also for her school's varsity soccer and golf teams. Although that makes her a very busy person all year-round, she claims that being a multi-sport athlete helps her stay in shape physically along with always staying in a competitive mindset.