Bemidji State hockey notebook: Ice making begins at the Sanford Center, Cramer signs with Tulsa, Pope signs with South Carolina, Illo featured

Ice making is underway at the Sanford Center. Photo via Sanford Center Facebook page

School is in session and that means the hockey season is just around the corner.

Ice is going in at the Sanford Center as shown by the above photo from the Sanford Center’s facebook page. The ice is going in earlier this year. Last season the Beavers practiced at Neilson-Reise Arena as final touches were put on the new Sanford Center. The ice making process did not begin until the final week of September in 2010.

One thing I noticed in the picture is the larger advertising logos behind the blue lines. There’s also Sanford Center lettering around the center circle. Here’s how the ice looked last year.

View of center ice from stands during Sept. 2010 ice making.

The BSU women will play the first game in the Sanford Center this season in an exhibition on Sept. 23 against the Thunder Bay Queens. Home opening weekend for the BSU women is Sept. 30/Oct. 1 against Providence.

The BSU men will play Regina in an exhibition on Oct. 2 at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State’s regular season opening weekend is Oct. 7-8 against Miami in Oxford, Ohio. The home opener and WCHA opener at the Sanford Center is Oct. 21-22 against Michigan Tech.

Ryan Cramer signs with Tulsa

BSU alum Ryan Cramer agreed to terms with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League for the upcoming season. The club announced the deal last week.

Cramer, an International Falls native, had two goals and 10 assists last year in his senior season with the Beavers. After BSU’s season ended at the WCHA Final Five, Cramer played with the Oilers on an amateur contract.

“At 6? 2” and 210 pounds, Ryan impressed us last year with his size and mobility, and he should be one of the top rookies in the league this season,” Tulsa head Coach Bruce Ramsay said in a statement.

The Oilers are affiliates of the Colorado Avalanche and the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL.

Matt Pope signs with South Carolina

BSU alum Matt Pope has agreed to terms with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Pope, 27, scored four goals in 55 games with San Antonio of the American Hockey League last season.

Pope had 33 goals and 38 assists in a 143-game career from 2004-08 with the Beavers.

Radoslav Illo Featured

BSU sophomore Radoslav Illo was profiled by Inside College Hockey in the ‘INCH: A-Z” feature Monday.

You can read it here.

“Rado is kind of a wild card for us coming into his second year of college hockey,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore told INCH.” He has a very high skill set, he skates well, he’s got a great release, and he shoots well. What he’s got to do now is improve the overall depth of his game.”

Balstad back

Vance Balstad said last week he will drive the zamboni at Bemidji State hockey games for another season.

Balstad drove the zamboni at the John Glas Fieldhouse from 1974 until it closed and he retired from BSU in 2010.

Balstad continued to drive zamboni last season in the first year at the Sanford Center. Balstad recently was asked to return again for the upcoming season and he accepted.