BREC progress photos, Tomcikova Olympic update on a busy Bemidji week in sports

Greetings from the Pioneer newsroom on a late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.

It’s been a busy week here and it is going to continue through the end of the week with the much anticipated final weekend of regular season hockey at John Glas Fieldhouse for the men’s and women’s teams. Also, we’re monitoring what’s going on in the Vancouver Olympics with curler Natalie Nicholson and BSU women’s goalie Zuzana Tomcikova with sentimental fan favorite Slovakia. Oh, and the Bemidji High School girls hockey team is playing Roseau for a section title and a state berth in Thief River Falls Thursday night(I’ll be there for that one).

The Pioneer staff was given a construction tour at the Bemidji Regional Event Center Wednesday afternoon and it appears to be progressing well. Much has changed since I last stepped foot on site in November.

I have some video of the tour and I’ll produce a video that will accompany Pioneer city reporter Bethany Wesley’s story on Saturday. She’s producing excellent coverage on the BREC and has a story on the BREC scoreboard in today’s paper.

For now, here’s a few photos of the inside that you’ll enjoy. The photo at the top of the blog is a panoramic view of 27 photos stitched together from the upper corner/suite level of the rink. Since I can’t enlarge that shot on this blog because of technical constraints, here it’s divided in half. Cool huh? The sunlight casted on the dirt in the middle of the photo is where center ice will be.

Below another panoramic, this one of 12 photos, from the other end of the rink. This one unfortunately came out a little distored and skewed, but it still is an interesting shot.

This is Project Superintendent Gregg Judge of Kraus-Anderson Construction

A shot of the tour group in what will be the main lobby area.


Curling apology

To all the copy editors out there who caught my massive headline error in Wednesday’s print edition of the Pioneer, your voices were heard loud and clear.

I apologize for the printed headline on the sports page that said Natalie Nicholson and the Team USA women’s curling team won their first match against Japan. It is most certainly a regrettable error.

It was a busy night Tuesday. I had to take photos at two events in two different places, take phone calls and write short stories from area basketball coaches. Then there was the job of editing copy, gathering national sports copy and other photos. And when I finished all of that and returned to my desk to layout three pages of breaking sports news and Olympic coverage with one hour until press deadline … Well, unfortunate and regrettable things happen where the obvious meets occasional overwhelming demands.

That’s my explanation but it isn’t an excuse. It is my job to be perfect with words. We all make mistakes. It’s just mine can be seen and pointed out by nearly 10,000 readers.

Hopefully that headline will stay out of Jay Leno’s show.

So, please accept my apologies Bemidji curling fans. I may not totally understand your sport but I enjoy watching it and I try my best to take care of you in our pages.

Tomcikova Olympic Update

The Slovakian women’s hockey team gave Switzerland all it could handle in the final game of pool play Wednesday night, but the Swiss pulled away from a 2-2 tie the third period to win 5-2 to keep the Slovaks winless.

Tomcikova was especially hard on herself in talking with the Associated Press.

"I don’t know what happened, but we stopped playing 10 minutes before the end of the game," said Tomcikova. "I take a lot of the blame. Maybe if I would have caught some of the pucks, we wouldn’t have blown it. I let us down."

Interestingly, Tomcikova and Swiss goalie Florence Schelling played against eachother in the fall of 2008 in Bemidji. Schelling plays for Northeastern. BSU won both games in classic shootouts, the first shootouts BSU ever played in. The games went down as ties because of NCAA rules.

Tomcikova has become a media darling of sorts for Slovakia, which appears to become sentimental favorites for Olympic hockey fans.

She’s also helped the visibility of the university as Bemidji State is attached to her name in most media reports.

Tomcikova in the Washington Post

Tomcikova in the New York Times

Here’s the good news for Bemidji State. I talked with BSU assistant coach Shane Veenker at Tuesday night’s BHS-Moorhead section semifinal and he said Tomcikova will be back for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, which begin in two weeks.

BSU hosts Minnesota-Duluth this week, which is not eliminated from catching Minnesota for the WCHA regular season title. There is real potential that, if BSU can gain points out of this final weekend of WCHA play, it will be home for that first round for the first time in program history.

What a homecoming that would make for Tomcikova.

Men’s hockey preview

I’ve just uploaded the BSU men’s hockey preview for the week. See what the captains have to say about the final weekend at home against Niagara and check out some of the old-school Glas Fieldhouse photos I included.

One last thing: Grandma, I got your message and thanks for reading. It’s been busy here and I’ll catch up with you soon :)

Remember everyone: Even when professional life keeps you busy-  remember your family!