Minnesota’s pro women’s hockey team has stocked up on two more Bemidji State products.
The Minnesota Whitecaps selected Mak Langei and Tina Kampa in the 2021 National Women’s Hockey League Draft on Tuesday night in the first and second rounds, respectively. Langei was the sixth and final pick of the first round, and Kampa was the 12th overall selection.
The two defenders recently graduated from BSU after completing their senior seasons in 2020-21.
“I’m definitely thankful and grateful,” Langei said. “Knowing that I have the opportunity to play again is just an amazing feeling.”
Langei and Kampa are the second and third Beavers to ever be taken in the NWHL Draft.
Both were thrilled to be selected by their home state team. Langei hails from East Grand Forks and Kampa is from Maple Grove.
“I’m just very excited that this is a possibility,” Kampa said. “For any woman that gets to continue to play hockey after college, it’s a super humbling and rewarding opportunity and experience. I’m really grateful to have an opportunity like this and to play for my home state.”
Langei will balance her playing career while attending dental school at the University of Minnesota beginning this fall.
“It’s going to be hard,” Langei said, “but I know I have a lot of support from different people.”
Kampa remains involved with the College Hockey for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group, which is preparing to launch its initiatives. She’s also coaching several hockey programs in the Twin Cities this summer, including a girls team composed of players and coaches who are all people of color.
“It’s an honor to be Colombian and a woman of color getting this opportunity,” said Kampa, who was adopted from Colombia and raised in Minnesota. “In showing that representation matters and that little young girls of color can do this too one day, I’m paving the way for them in everything that I do.”
Reuniting with former teammate
Haley Mack was the first Bemidji State player to ever be selected in the NWHL Draft when the Whitecaps took her with the 23rd overall pick in the fourth round in 2020. Mack totaled four points from three goals and one assist over five games in the shortened 2020-21 NWHL season.
“We’re super excited about the possibility of all (of us) playing together again,” Kampa said. “It’d be really cool to see all three of us on the ice again…. It’d be like we never left.”
The defensive duo were prolific shot blockers last season as each Beaver ranked in the top four nationally. Langei’s 73 blocks were the second most in the country and Kampa’s 57 ranked fourth.
For their careers, Langei (47) and Kampa (33) rank eighth and ninth in BSU program history in points by a defenseman.
Langei is seventh all-time in goals (11) and eighth in assists (36) by a Beaver blueliner, while Kampa’s 29 assists are the ninth most by a defenseman in program history.
The two will join a Whitecaps team that has reached the Isobel Cup championship game in each of its first three seasons in the NWHL.
Minnesota captured the cup in its first season as league members in 2018-19. The 2020 title game was canceled due to COVID-19. The Whitecaps fell in the 2021 championship in March.
“With the success that they’ve had in the past, I just want to do whatever I can to try to contribute and make other people better,” Langei said. “Because I know for a fact they’ll definitely be helping me out and making me better each and every day.”