As the college hockey landscape becomes increasingly competitive, universities are constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of the game. Recruiting plays a vital role in a team’s success and being able to attract talented players is crucial. Bemidji State University, a Division I program located in northern Minnesota, has seen remarkable success in recent years due to their ability to attract top high school talent. From their strategic recruiting approach to their impressive on-ice performance, Bemidji State has become a powerhouse in recruiting, and here’s how they do it.
Located in a small town with a population of just over 15,000, Bemidji State University may not come to mind when thinking of top college hockey programs. However, their recruiting strategy has allowed them to compete with some of the bigger schools in the nation. The university’s coaching staff takes a holistic approach to recruiting, looking not only at a player’s on-ice skills but also their character and academic achievements.
One of the key factors behind Bemidji State’s success in recruiting is their emphasis on building relationships with players and their families. Head Coach Tom Serratore and his staff are known for developing personal connections with recruits, making them feel valued and part of the Bemidji State community even before they step on campus.
The coaching staff also pays close attention to a player’s development both on and off the ice. They often attend high school games and tournaments, not just to scout players but also to interact with them and get a sense of their character. As Serratore puts it, We want to bring in not just good athletes, but good people who will represent our university well. This emphasis on character has resulted in a tight-knit team and has been a key factor in their success on the ice.
Another factor that sets Bemidji State apart is their focus on academic excellence. With a graduation rate of 91%, the university takes pride in its student-athletes excelling both on and off the ice. This is attractive to both recruits and their families who see the value in getting a quality education while playing the sport they love. The coaching staff also ensures that their players prioritize their academics by implementing study halls and providing academic support.
Bemidji State’s on-ice success has also been a major draw for top recruits. In the past decade, the Beavers have made four NCAA tournament appearances and claimed both conference regular season and tournament titles. Their consistent success on the national stage has put them on the map and made them an attractive option for high school players looking to take their game to the next level. According to Serratore, Our ultimate goal is to win a national championship, and we want recruits who share that same goal and are willing to put in the work to achieve it.
In addition to their on-ice performance, Bemidji State’s facilities also play a role in their recruiting success. The Sanford Center, a state-of-the-art arena with a capacity of over 4,000, is home to the Beavers and provides a top-notch environment for players to develop. With an upgraded weight room and dedicated locker rooms, the facilities at Bemidji State rival those of larger schools, making it an attractive option for recruits.
As for the future, Bemidji State shows no signs of slowing down in their recruiting efforts. They continue to bring in top high school talent from all over the United States and Canada, with players hailing from states such as California and Colorado. The university has also expanded their recruiting efforts internationally, with players from countries like Finland and the Czech Republic joining the Beavers in recent years.
Bemidji State University has become a recruiting powerhouse by implementing a holistic approach, focusing on character and academics, and maintaining a high level of on-ice success. They have shown that a small school in a small town can compete with some of the biggest names in college hockey by prioritizing relationships and player development. As the Beavers continue to attract top talent, their future on and off the ice looks bright.