WOMEN’S HOCKEY: BSU great Amber Fryklund trading coaching for teaching

As a player, Fryklund finished her career in 2003 with 122 points to go along with 59 goals, both BSU program records.

BSU women’s hockey associate head coach Amber Fryklund is leaving the program to become a professor at the university. Before her coaching days, she was the highest scoring player in program history. (BSU photo services)

Few people are as intertwined with Bemidji State women’s hockey as Amber Fryklund.

Fryklund first made a name for herself as a player and became the program’s all-time leading scorer in the process. Now, after nine seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, including the last four as associate head coach, Fryklund is leaving to become an assistant professor at BSU.

Having earned a bachelor's degree from BSU in 2003 and a master’s from Minnesota Duluth in 2007, Fryklund completed her doctorate from St. Cloud State in 2019.

“I didn’t know when that time would happen to make the transition, but an opportunity opened in the human performance department here at Bemidji State, and it seemed like a great opportunity,” she said. “I was offered the position and decided to take that next step in my career.”

“She’s been a big part of helping build the culture that we have here,” head coach Jim Scanlan said. “I think the biggest thing is she was such a great role model and mentor for all of the young women in our program. … She played here, she’s been a part of the program for a long time.”


Fryklund will teach classes in physical education, health education and teacher education, as well as some coaching courses, though she has already schooled a generation of Beavers on the rink.

Program pioneer

The former Minnesota Ms. Hockey finalist joined the program in 2000 after an accomplished high school career in her hometown of Hibbing.

How accomplished are we talking?

Just last year, Fryklund was No. 14 in a ranking of the best girls high school hockey players in Minnesota history by

“I had an incredible opportunity to play girls hockey when it first started in Minnesota,” said Fryklund, who was among the sport’s earliest stars when Minnesota became the first state to sanction girls hockey in 1994-95. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Both my grandparents were teachers, and so when I came to college, I knew that was the path I wanted to go.”

Fryklund transitioned seamlessly to the collegiate level for a BSU program still in its infancy.

She totaled 27 goals and 49 points in her debut 2000-01 season, both single-season program records to this day. She’s recorded three of the five best individual scoring seasons the program has ever seen.


041520.S.BP.FRYKLUND playing.jpg
BSU forward Amber Fryklund (4) totaled 122 career points and 59 goals, both program records, over three seasons from 2000-03. (BSU photo)

In 2001-02, Fryklund became the first BSU player to earn All-WCHA honors.

Despite playing only three seasons, Fryklund became the first Beaver to eclipse 100 career points, finishing her career in 2003 with 122 to go along with 59 goals. Both are Bemidji State program records, while her 63 assists rank second all time.

“Hockey has brought me so much in my life,” Fryklund said. “It’s brought me incredible friendships, lifelong friends. Hockey has been such an important part of my life and Bemidji State has a special place in my heart.”

Coaching ranks

Upon graduation from BSU, Fryklund returned to the high school ranks to begin her coaching career as co-head coach of the Duluth Northern Stars for six years before spending two years as an assistant for the Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall Mirage.

After eight years away, Fryklund returned to Bemidji State in 2011 when then-head coach Steve Sertich brought her aboard as an assistant. She coached alongside Sertich for three seasons and Scanlan for the last six.

“I really was fortunate to work with (Sertich). He’s a fellow Iron Ranger like myself,” Fryklund said. “He took a chance on hiring me. He gave me every opportunity, and he’s been a great mentor to me. I talk to him pretty frequently still. Just a great person, and Jim Scanlan, too.

“He came in and has been great to me, and it was great working with him for the last six years. Nothing but great things to say about my experiences with working with both of those guys.”


In her nine seasons behind the bench, Fryklund has helped guide the Beavers to their two winningest seasons ever, two WCHA Final Faceoff appearances and a trip to the WCHA championship game. Additionally, 14 players garnered All-WCHA honors during her tenure.

Among many other coaching duties, Fryklund was in charge of the team’s penalty kill unit, which twice finished third nationally under her watch in 2014-15 and 2018-19.

“Any success that our program has enjoyed since I’ve been here, she’s been a huge part of it,” Scanlan said. “She made my transition here so easy. … She’ll be hard to replace, no doubt.”

Fryklund said she’ll miss the players most of all, though she won’t be going far. She’ll continue to teach many of them, only as a professor.

“Bemidji State is just a really special place because of the people,” she said. “I’ve been so fortunate to coach here and do what I love and be a part of hockey in a different way. That’s a hard part about changing career paths. I’m excited about the next opportunity, but really excited that I get to be here and still be a part of it all, just in a different role.”

Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at
What To Read Next
Get Local