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Doubleheader atmospheres embody Bemidji State’s cross-sport support

"It's a great feel-good when the other sports are supporting you," BSU men's hockey head coach Tom Serratore said. "That's what any college campus is about, but especially at Bemidji State. Our athletes are pretty tight."

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Members of the Bemidji State women's hockey team watch the men's team play against St. Cloud State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Attend a Bemidji State men’s hockey home game, and you’ll witness patrons of all persuasions. The student section is often well stocked, and numerous regulars populate the arena bowl.

But on the night of a doubleheader at the Sanford Center, after the BSU women’s hockey team finishes up its matinee, you can often see a group of hockey-playing Beavers taking their spot in the stands for the men’s game.

“We all get along very well, and we both want the support from each other,” women’s defenseman Makenna Deering said. “So being able to both be home and see each other play is definitely something that we both enjoy. I know we enjoy it when we can get people at our games, because obviously we don’t get a lot here and there. But it’s definitely a good relationship between both (teams).”

The women’s hockey team took in the men’s 3-1 victory over No. 2 St. Cloud State last Friday, adding to the festive mood generated by their 2-1 comeback win over Minnesota State earlier that day.

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Bemidji State men's hockey team players watch the women's hockey team play against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“A lot of people's families come here, so after the games, we'll go get food with our families, or some people eat their food here,” Deering said. “Hang out, and then once the men’s game starts, a lot of us will come back here and go sit with each other and watch. Some people’s families will come too, which is always fun. I know my family enjoys coming to watch the men’s team.”

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Deering and the women’s team often congregate in a section near the penalty box.

Men’s team players tend to mosey out near the glass toward the end of the women’s games, taking in a period or so of the action before they commence their warmup.

“It's nice to support the women's team as well,” said men’s goaltender Gavin Enright. “They come out to our games. So going to their games, at least a little bit, seeing the third period is always nice. Mankato was a really good series for them. So going out there and watching that game for a bit was actually super entertaining.”

The inter-sport underpinning isn’t limited to hockey, either. The women’s hockey team modified practice this week, allowing players to go watch the Bemidji State women’s soccer team win its NSIC Tournament quarterfinal game against U-Mary at Chet Anderson Stadium.

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Bemidji State volleyball players hold up signs in celebration of Brooklyn Bachmann scoring her 1,000th point during a win over Valley City State on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

“We wanted to make sure we were done in time so our players could run over and support the women's soccer team,” women’s hockey head coach Jim Scanlan said. “You see that on campus a lot. You see a lot of the athletic teams are at other teams' events, which is really cool. One of the neat things about Bemidji State for sure.”

Women’s soccer team members are also often visible at Sanford Center, as are players from other non-hockey sports.

“I love it,” men’s hockey head coach Tom Serratore said. “It's a college atmosphere. It's a college campus. It's important that our players support the other sports. It’s outstanding. It's a great feel-good when the other sports are supporting you. That's what any college campus is about, but especially at Bemidji State. Our athletes are pretty tight. There's a lot of interactions.

“You want as many people in the building as possible, and the other sports want as many people at their games as possible as well. That's what we have to do. We have to stick together here, and I think we do a pretty good job of that.”

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BSU has another opportunity for cross-sport support this weekend – the women’s and men’s hockey teams have two doubleheaders scheduled at the Sanford Center. The women play St. Cloud State at 3:01 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, and 2:01 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, and the men face Ferris State at 7:07 p.m. on Friday and 6:07 p.m. on Saturday.

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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