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Beaver Travel Lifestyle: Embracing the Journey On the Road

Beavers’ [ppp1] defenseman Matthew Yakubowski is seen sharpening his skates in preparation for Minot State’s upcoming match against the University of Mary on January 24, 2024.

The journey ahead varied between miles and long miles.

Following a challenging defeat to their rivals, the University of Mary, the distance between Mandan and Minot seemed longer than ever as a solemn atmosphere filled the charter bus carrying the reigning national champions back home.

Earlier in the game, Reid Arnold scored a short-handed goal, giving Minot State a 2-0 lead in the middle of the second period. However, the Marauders responded with two goals of their own, including a crucial one just four seconds before the intermission, leveling the score and seizing the momentum. Ultimately, the University of Mary secured a 5-3 victory by scoring three goals in the final period.

Fortunately, the Beavers managed to shake off the loss, bouncing back just two days later with a 3-0 win against the University of Jamestown, once again on the road.

For college athletes like those at Minot State, life on the road is a familiar routine, requiring them to find ways to cope with the monotony of long bus rides.

Sophomore defenseman Eric Krywy, hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, emphasized the importance of downloading movies, playing games on phones, or catching up on sleep during overnight travels. Despite the challenges, Krywy has excelled in balancing his road responsibilities with academic pursuits, maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA while studying exercise science and rehabilitation.

The team’s commitment to academic success is evident through mandatory study blocks, where athletes must complete a minimum of six hours of study halls each week. This structured approach, coupled with available resources and peer support, fosters a sense of community and academic accountability among the student-athletes.

Freshman like Logan Cyca take on additional responsibilities, such as packing the bus for road trips. Essential items like soap for showers and ensuring the bus speakers are working are crucial details not to be overlooked.

The team’s diverse music preferences, ranging from rap to Nickelback to country, reflect the varied backgrounds of the players. Pre-game rituals and superstitions, like Carter Barley’s routine centered around his jersey number, add a unique flair to the players’ preparations before hitting the ice.

Beyond the hockey team, travel challenges also impact other athletic programs at Minot State, notably the basketball teams. The limitations on non-conference games in lower divisions can significantly influence postseason opportunities, as experienced by the men’s basketball team’s near miss in qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

To address the regional disparities, teams like Minot State strategically schedule additional games against non-region opponents to enhance their profile and standings. These efforts, combined with educational initiatives during travel, aim to enrich the student-athlete experience while promoting academic growth and athletic excellence.

In navigating the complexities of collegiate athletics and travel, Minot State’s commitment to holistic student development shines through, ensuring a balance between athletic achievements and educational enrichment.