The BSU men’s hockey team took on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers March 4-5 in their final regular season match up. Before that weekend, the Gophers held a 7-1 lead in the all time series record; with BSU’s first win coming just last season.
The first meeting in the history of these two programs was in 2000, I was a ten-year old Gopher fan, wondering who the Beavers were. Much to my enjoyment, the Gophers went on to pummel the Beavers, by a score of 9-3. Little did I know, one day I would be torn between the two programs.
The Beavers and Gophers went their separate ways after that game, meeting just seven more times in the next nine years.
When choosing colleges, I did not expect to be put in the predicament I was in last season. Born in St. Paul, Minn., my father raised me as a Gopher fan, learning to hate every team that stood in their way, (the F-word was an acceptable word when talking about UND and Wisconsin, in my family).
Last season, when the Beavers traveled to what was, at the time, my favorite college hockey arena in the nation, I was torn between two teams. Sitting front row at Mariucci arena, I felt naked not wearing my Gopher clothes, but I cheered louder and louder when the Beavers beat the Gophers for the first time. I would be lying if I said I didn’t accidentally join in the Gophers’ fight song once or twice.
So here I sit this year, in the press box of the Sanford Center, which is now my new favorite arena, watching my childhood favorite team warm up to play against my college, which I have come to love just as much.
Sitting here I realized that it hasn’t been very long since the Beavers were the baby of NCAA Division I hockey, and the Gophers were the top dogs. But times have changed. In the past five years, each team has participated in the same amount of Frozen Fours, even though the Gophers hold a lead in Division I National Championships, the Beavers are no strangers to winning championships themselves.
In 10 short years, the Beavers have gone from the baby to becoming a member of the premier conference in the NCAA Division I rankings. So here we are, preparing to watch the first of what we can only hope to be many interstate match-ups between the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota, and the Beavers of Bemidji State.