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UND women's hockey players scattering across country

UND forward Charly Dahlquist (10) celebrates her goal with the bench during a game against Minnesota State at the Ralph Engelstad Arena last season. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

Roughly half of the UND women's hockey players have found new homes.

Eight of the 17 players with remaining eligibility have made new commitments since the announcement that UND was discontinuing women's hockey—though none of the players have yet landed at the same spot.

Six of UND's 12 committed recruits also have found new homes.

"Quite honestly, teams have been more than accommodating for our players," UND coach Brian Idalski said. "A lot of people understand not only the young talent base that we had coming back, but also our incoming class was very strong as well. I think our kids have had a lot of options, so that's good."

The first player to make a new commitment was sophomore forward Rebekah Kolstad, who committed to her hometown team, MSU-Mankato.

Since then, sophomore Charly Dahlquist committed to Ohio State, while freshman goalie Kristen Campbell committed to Wisconsin, freshman defenseman Abbey Stanley committed to Boston University, freshman forward Ryleigh Houston committed to Minnesota Duluth and freshman forward Hallie Theodosopoulos committed to St. Cloud State.

Two rookies are headed to play for Canadian teams. Alyssa MacMillan, the sister of former UND forwards Mark and Mitch, will play at the University of Ottawa and Breanna Berndsen will play at the University of Toronto.

Notably, the three returning Finnish Olympians—freshman Emma Nuutinen, sophomore Anna Kilponen and sophomore Vilma Tanskanen—all remain uncommitted.

They are debating whether to to play college hockey this season or to spend the entire year back home preparing for the 2018 Winter Games.

The other remaining players—freshman forward Sarah Lecavalier, freshman defenseman Abby Thiessen, sophomore defenseman Taylor Flaherty, freshman forward Annelise Rice, sophomore forward Dorci Medgyes and redshirt goalie Kennedy Blair—are still looking at options.

"A lot of them are still going on visits, but they are starting to narrow it down," Idalski said. "Those kids will make a decision soon."

Bulldog benefit

Perhaps nobody will benefit more than Minnesota Duluth.

Not only did the Bulldogs land Houston, who finished one point off the team lead in scoring as a rookie, they also landed two of UND's prized recruits in Ashton Bell, a Canadian U18 Team member, and Gabbie Hughes, a U.S. U18 Team member.

Moorhead's Kara Werth committed to Bemidji State, defenseman Willow Slobodzian committed to Cornell, defenseman Taylor Wemple committed to St. Cloud State and defenseman Emilie Harley committed to Robert Morris, which is coached by former UND assistant Paul Colontino.

The top remaining prospects are forward Malia Schneider, a Canadian U18 Team member, and 2018 Swedish forward Hanna Olson, who played in the 2014 Olympic Games.

It was announced in late March that UND was cutting the women's hockey team along with the men's and women's swimming and diving teams as part of campus-wide cuts.

UND President Mark Kennedy instructed the athletic department to cut $1.3 million out of its budget.

The women's hockey and men's and women's swimming and diving teams' budgets combine for about $2.9 million. The school said some of that money will be filtered through other programs.

UND's Title IX compliance is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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