The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 17 • Number 1• Winter 2000

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After flourishing for nearly a decade as a club sport, women's ice hockey now competes at the intercollegiate level at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs made their presence known from the onset of their inaugural year by blasting the University of Wisconsin 8-1 in the regular season opener on October 8 before a crowd of 3,892 in Madison. Since then, UMD has been on a tear, jumping out to a perfect 12-0-0 record both overall and in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.

Hockey fans in Duluth have taken notice of UMD's first-year successes. The Bulldogs are averaging nearly 1,100 spectators per game thus far at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. This figure puts UMD among the national leaders in home game attendance.

Though it's still in somewhat of its infancy stages, women's hockey is a growing sport in U.S. colleges and universities. The first-year women's WCHA consists of seven NCAA Division I schools, including three institutions -- Wisconsin, Ohio State and UMD -- which are in their initial year of varsity existence. Unlike men's hockey, the women's game does not allow body checking, meaning that players must rely heavily on finesse, creativity and speed.

   Sophomore sensation Jenny Schmidgall has shown plenty of these attributes this season. A member of the gold medal-winning U.S. entry at the 1998 Olympics, Schmidgall has occupied the top position on the national scoring charts since the opening weekend of the year, and averages a whopping 4.1 points per game. Maria Rooth, a 1998 Olympian with Sweden, and Hanne Sikio of Finland, have added both scoring punch -they rank 2-3 behind Schmidgall in WCHA scoring - and international flavor to the 1999-2000 Bulldogs.

"I have high expectations of myself and the athletes," says head coach Shannon Miller. "I set a high goal for our team. I'd rather be reaching and maybe just miss than not try at all." With the support of the fans and the dedication of coaches and players, UMD's women's hockey team has already proven to be a success.

-- Teresa Thompson


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