With the recent news regarding Bemidji State defenseman Zach Whitecloud joining Team Canada for a pre-Olympic tournament, I figure what better time for me to write my first post for the Beaver Blog.
I know, it’s been about three weeks since the Beavers’ season began, so I’m a little behind my self-imposed deadline to get this thing up and running. But I hope to bring readers BSU hockey news and more through this blog, just as my predecessor Jack Hittinger (we’re not worthy, we’re not worthy) did in seasons past. Seriously, I owe a lot to Jack and the precedent that he has set for me as I get started in my first season covering the Beavers.
To the news at hand.
Last Wednesday, Whitecloud was one of 26 players selected to Team Canada’s roster for the Karjala Cup next week, a tournament in Switzerland and Finland that Canada will use to help determine just who will make the cut for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea this February.
With NHL players sitting out the 2018 Olympics, it’s still not completely known where national teams will get their players. For the most part, Canada has selected players from European pro leagues for the Karjala Cup, but there are a few exceptions — Whitecloud is one of only two college players on the roster, along with Northeastern’s Dylan Sikura.
The sophomore’s selection came as a bit of a surprise to him, which you can read more about in my story for the Pioneer.
CBC Manitoba also featured Whitecloud, who hails from Brandon, Manitoba, in a story that aired Wednesday evening. You can watch the segment and read the CBC’s story here (I think that’s Dillon Eichstadt in the image at the top of the article but we’ll forgive them).
Beaver fans should keep their eye on how Whitecloud does at the tournament next week as a potential Olympic roster spot is on the line for the BSU sophomore. He could join former Beavers Charlie Brown and Jim McElmury (1972 Olympics), Blane Comstock and Gary Ross (1976 Olympics) and Joel Otto (1998 Olympics), among others, who have represented Bemidji State at the Olympics.
Whitecloud will miss BSU’s Nov. 10-11 series against Minnesota State for the Karjala Cup, and the Beavers will certainly miss him for the matchup against the No. 9 Mavericks. But I’m sure his teammates and coaches are proud of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he has earned to play for his home country.
For more on how the Canadian — and American — Olympic teams are shaping up, below are some stories from elsewhere that are worth your time.
Check back here for more blog posts on the Beavers. I promise I’ll try to keep it updated throughout the season.
And who knows — maybe come February we could be watching Zach Whitecloud playing for Team Canada in PyeongChang.