Hockey joined with hockey federations around the world on today for the first-ever World Girls' Hockey Day, created by the
International Ice Hockey Federation to help grow girls' youth hockey.
Girls' Hockey Day introduces females of all ages to hockey in a
positive, fun and safe environment while helping them learn about hockey
opportunities in their communities. The day also promotes fair play,
sportsmanship, teamwork and making new friends while playing hockey.
Activities range from American Development Model (ADM) clinics,
Mother/Daughter skates, Meet & Greet skates with teams and Try
Hockey for Free opportunities.
Seventy-six local hockey associations in the U.S. are hosting an event today in celebration of World Girls' Hockey Day.
Several members of the U.S. Women's National Team Program will join in the celebration, including current Gophers Anne Schleper and Jen Schoullis, who participated in a Mother/Daughter skate with the Shakopee Youth Hockey Association. Former Gopher Gigi Marvin was a U.S. National Team player who participated in the Waltham Youth Hockey Association's Try Hockey for Free event in Waltham, Mass.
After a vote by the team, head coach Brad Frost announced that the captains of the 2011-12 Gopher women's hockey team will be Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis. Both Schoullis and Erickson served as assistant captains last season.
"Sarah and Jen were voted as captains by their teammates," explained Frost. "These two are great players, but they also represent what our program is about. We look forward to them leading our team in great ways this year."
Sarah Erickson is a senior forward from Roseau, Minn. She led the team in goal scoring last season with 21, and had the second-highest point total with 43. Erickson also led the team in game-winning goals with six.
"I am greatly looking forward to the season as a whole," said Erickson. "I feel that we have a deep pool of talented teammates who are willing to bring a great amount of sacrifice, dedication and work ethic to our team day in and day out. As a leader, those are three terms I would like to abide by this season. If we do those things I think we have an opportunity to be an extremely powerful squad."
Jen Schoullis is a fifth-year senior from Erie, Pa. Last season, she tallied 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points, and led the team in power play goals with seven.
"It is an honor to represent the University of Minnesota women's hockey team," said Schoullis. "It feels good to know that our teammates are beside us 100 percent of the way. I am looking forward for this season to start, I think we have an incredible squad."
The WCHA announced its preseason coaches' poll today, and Minnesota is listed No. 2. The Gophers tallied 44 points in the poll and received two first-place votes in the survey of the leagues' eight head coaches. Coaches could not vote for their own teams in the poll and points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system.
Not surprisingly, defending NCAA Champion Wisconsin is listed at No. 1. "As the defending national champions with many top players returning, there's no question Wisconsin is the favorite heading into the season. They are the team everyone else is chasing," explained Gopher head coach Brad Frost. "Top to bottom, our league is the strongest in the country. There are no nights off in the WCHA, we will definitely be battle tested by the time our conference season ends."
The coaches also voted for Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason Rookie of the Year. Two of Minnesota's freshmen received votes in the poll, with forward Meghan Lorence getting two votes while defenseman Rachel Ramsey earned one vote.
This Saturday is the Face Off Festival at Ridder Arena!
As you probably know, we're hosting the Maroon & Gold game on Saturday morning. It's an intrasquad scrimmage beginning at 10 a.m. at Ridder Arena. But, did you know that admission is free? That's right, everyone is invited to join us at 10:00 to kick off the 2011-12 season.
If you're a Power Play Club member or a season ticket holder, there's free breakfast at 9:00 before the Maroon & Gold game. There are also 40 reserved parking spots available to PPC members and season ticket holders. To reserve your spot, email our marketing coordinator Ana Balboa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're not a Power Play Club member, but you'd like to become one or you'd like more information, visit their website at powerplayclub.org.
If you plan to buy season tickets, but haven't yet, call the ticket office at 1-800-U-GOPHER to order your tickets.
The USCHA.com preseason poll was announced today, and the Gophers came in at No. 4.
WCHA rival and defending NCAA Champion Wisconsin earned all 14 of the first place votes. Four of the top 10 teams in the poll are from the WCHA, with Wisconsin at No. 1, Minnesota at No. 4, Minnesota-Duluth at No. 6 and North Dakota at No. 7. See the full poll at USCHO.com.
In the 14-year history of the USCHO.com women's hockey poll, the Gophers have begun the season among the top 10 in each year. In the preseason poll, Minnesota has been ranked in the top four in 11 of 14 seasons, and has never been listed lower than No. 7 in the preseason poll.
The preseason poll for USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine has not been released yet.
We're now just two weeks out from our season opener, the East/West Showcase on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Can you believe hockey season starts just 14 days from now?
In the East/West Showcase, the Gophers will play host to Union, Syracuse and St. Cloud State. On Friday night, SCSU will face Syracuse while Minnesota plays Union. On Saturday, the Gophers get their chance against Syracuse while St. Cloud State plays Union. Games are at 4:00 and 7:00 each day, with the Gophers playing in the 7:00 game both nights.
The last time the Gophers faced Syracuse was in the 2009-10 season opener. Minnesota won both games, winning 4-3 the first night and 4-1 the second night. The Gophers will play Union for the first time in program history.
To read up on Minnesota's opening-weekend opponents:
This fall there are some new additions in the hallways of Ridder Arena, murals depicting some of the finest moments in Gopher women's hockey history. Both sides of the hallway near the Gophers' locker room are full of images of celebration and excellence, a constant reminder to the current team of the great GWH tradition that they are now a part of, and an inspiration to achieve more highlights to be added to the hallway in the future.
In the first video, you'll see images from Minnesota's national championship teams in 2000, 2004 and 2005. We also see images of Patty Kazmaier Award Winner Krissy Wendell. At the end of the mural are photos of all the WCHA Championship teams, and wow, there are a lot of them in the short 12-year history of the WCHA women's league.
The second video shows more great moments in Gopher women's hockey history, including lots of celebration photos and images of team captains from recent seasons.
It's a day of beginnings for Gopher Women's Hockey: the first day of the 2011-12 school year here on the U of M campus and the first entry on the new GWH blog!
We'll use this blog to keep you updated with the latest news, fun facts, and behind-the-scenes info on the University of Minnesota women's hockey team. If you're not already following us on Facebook and Twitter, join us there as well.
Our 2011-12 season will be starting in just a few short weeks. So much for hockey being a winter sport, huh? We'll be starting official practice on Sept. 17, and are already started with captains' practice. On Saturday, Sept. 24, we'll hold our exhibition game, the Maroon & Gold game. The exhibition will start at 10 a.m. and has free admission so we hope you'll come out to Ridder Arena to join us.
Tickets for the 2011-12 season will be available soon on mygophersports.com. If you're a University of Minnesota student, you get free admission to all regular-season women's hockey games when you show your U Card. You can't beat that deal!
The regular season starts Friday, Sept. 30 when we host the East/West Showcase. Our full season schedule is available here. Please note that we've had a few schedule changes since our pocket schedules were printed, so if you have one of our snazzy pocket schedules, remember these changes:
Maroon & Gold Game (exhibition) was moved from Sept. 23 to Sept. 24. The start time is 10 a.m. at Ridder Arena
The start time was moved back an hour for Minnesota vs. New Hampshire on Friday, Nov. 18, the game will now start at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
The start times for our games at Harvard over Thanksgiving weekend have been changed. We'll be playing at 4 p.m. eastern (3 p.m. central) on Saturday, Nov. 26 and at 1 p.m. eastern (noon central) on Sunday, Nov. 27
Throughout the season, we'd love to hear from you, our faithful GWH fans! Let us know what you'd like to see here, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to submit questions and we'll do our best to answer them.