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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers ramp up intensity with annual intrasquad tournament

How does it work? Allow Paige Anderson, a junior forward and member of this year’s winning team, to explain.

011522.S.BP.BSUWHKY Holiday Tournament
The Bemidji State women's hockey team poses for a picture after its annual intrasquad holiday tournament on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Courtesy / Bemidji State Athletics
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BEMIDJI – The Bemidji State women’s hockey team had an additional week off on its schedule after returning from winter break this year. This ensured that the Beavers would go almost a month between games.

So what’s a team to do? Break out the annual intrasquad holiday tournament.

“It's something we've been doing for quite a few years now,” head coach Jim Scanlan said. “It's an opportunity to have some fun, and the players really enjoy it.”

How does it work? Allow Paige Anderson, a junior forward and member of this year’s winning team, to explain.

“(Assistant) coach Emma (Terres), she kind of did this random jumble of mixing girls together for teams,” Anderson said. “We didn't know our teams until the day before, maybe two days before. So we kind of showed up and got together with our teammates. And then it was kind of a round-robin tournament.

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“It was really fun making it all the way to the championship. We did have a few shootouts, which gets your heart pumping a little bit. And coach Emma actually played in the tournament with us too, so it's fun playing against her and seeing her out there with us.”

Anderson’s team, which wore black jerseys, also included junior forward Mya Neugent, sophomore defenseman Khloe Lund, fifth-year goaltender Kerigan Dowhy, and sophomore forward Gabbie Smith. Other teams in the field were the yellow team, blue team, orange team, gray team, and red team.

011522.S.BP.BSUWHKY Holiday Winners
The winners of the Bemidji State women's hockey team's annual holiday tournament pose with the trophy on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Courtesy / Bemidji State Athletics

For its efforts, the black team was awarded a famous holiday tournament trophy that rivals the Stanley Cup. What makes it so renowned, you ask?

“It's basically like cups just duct taped together,” Anderson said. “But it is really fun still winning it. And after we were awarded it, me and my teammates all signed it and took a picture with it. It was really cool.”

The trophy, seasoned as it is, has required some reinforcement over the years.

“I know it's been in there for a long time,” Scanlan said. “And I think maybe they've added to the structure to make sure it's staying solid. So it could have a few layers of duct tape that are on it, and the cups are holding up.

“It's front and center in the locker room. So the players see it. And then one of the players said, ‘We got to write our names down.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that's probably something that should have been done for a long time, to kind of keep an idea of who's won that thing.’”

With a new twist on the old tradition, the Beavers helped themselves prepare for their second-half slate. It starts this weekend with a daunting conference test against No. 9 Minnesota Duluth (11-7, 8-6 WCHA).

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BSU (7-10-3, 4-10-2 WCHA) finished the first half on a solid run, winning five of eight games and earning a win and tie in the final series against Minnesota State, a team the Beavers trail in the WCHA standings.

They’ll try to carry the momentum forward against the Bulldogs at 3:01 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 15, in Duluth.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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