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UMD women’s hockey notebook: Bell, Hughes take advantage of NIL to promote charitable events this offseason

Ashton Bell is putting on a charitable road hockey tournament in her hometown of Deloraine this summer while Gabbie Hughes continues her work with Sophie's Squad.

Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group A - United States v Canada
Ashton Bell of Canada in action with Dani Cameranesi of the United States during the 2022 Olympics at Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing, China on February 8, 2022.
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
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DULUTH — A pair of 2022-23 Minnesota Duluth fifth-year senior captains have been putting their name, image and likeness to good use this spring to promote charitable events they are putting on this offseason.

Canadian Olympic gold medalist Ashton Bell announced the Don Dietrich Memorial Road Hockey Tournament will take place in her hometown of Deloraine on June 25. The event will raise funds for youth sports in her local community and honor Don Dietrich, a local hockey hero and youth sports volunteer who died in February 2021 at the age of 59 following battles with cancer and Parkinson’s disease .

“He had a huge passion for hockey, so I thought it was fitting to do a ball hockey — or road hockey tournament, whatever you want to call it — this summer to celebrate him and to remember him by,” Bell said. “He did so much for our community giving back to it and helping develop young players.

“He was a true legend, in my eyes, and has been my mentor, my hero, my role model and just a big inspiration to me day in and day out.”

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Gabbie Hughes, a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2021-22, is continuing her work promoting mental health awareness by continuing her work with Sophie’s Squad, the organization she and her family helped found last summer .

Sophie’s Squad is hosting a 5K run/walk event and golf tournament on Sept. 10 at Victory Links Golf Course in Minneapolis. The event will raise funds for Sophie’s Squad, which last season put on “Hockey Hits Back” events at high school, college and professional games to promote mental health awareness.

Hughes and Bell, along with fifth-year senior Kylie Hanley, were named UMD’s captains for the 2022-23 season earlier this month.

Back in college hockey after a year away playing with the Canadian national and Olympic teams, Bell said it’s nice to be able to do what Hughes started doing last season and use the NCAA’s new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness to give back.

“I think it’s really important to give back. Having this platform now, I’m able to do more things like that,” said Bell, the Olympic gold medalist. “I’m excited to be able to do that in my community and play some road hockey, ball hockey, with younger players and show then the gold medal. I’m super excited.”

Former Bulldogs sign with Whitecaps

Former Bulldogs captains Sidney Morin and Sydney Brodt are returning from Europe to play for the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Premier Hockey Federation in 2022-23.

Morin, a defenseman from Minnetonka who graduated from UMD in 2017, has signed a two-year deal with the Whitecaps after playing four seasons in Sweden and a year in Switzerland. The 2018 Olympic gold medalist won a national championship with Team Lugano in the Swiss Women’s Hockey League in 2021-22.

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Brodt, a three-time captain for UMD who graduated in 2020, signed a one-year deal. She was with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association in 2020-21 before playing for Linkoping in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League (SDHL) in 2021-22. She was the SDHL’s most valuable player in 21-22 after finishing second in the league in scoring with 29 goals and 27 assists in 36 games.

Another former UMD captain — and assistant coach — Ashleigh Brykaliuk has re-signed with the Whitecaps for two more seasons after playing with Minnesota in 2021-22. Brykaliuk finished with 14 points in 20 games in her return to professional hockey in 2021-22 after three seasons on the Bulldogs bench. She previously played in China with the Vanke Rays of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League after graduating from UMD in 2017.

Bulldog Bites

Former Bulldogs goaltender Jenny Harss of Germany announced her retirement as a player over the weekend, via her Instagram . A two-time Olympian for Germany, the 34-year-old Harss backstopped the Bulldogs to an NCAA title in 2010, playing three seasons from 2009-2012.

  • Jamie Kenyon-Plesha, a teammate of Harss’ for two seasons, stepped down as coach of the Duluth Northern Stars this week after seven seasons. The former Bulldog (2010-2014) was the longest serving coach of the Duluth Denfeld and Duluth East high schools girls hockey co-op and the program’s all-time leader in total wins.
MORE UMD WOMEN'S HOCKEY OFFSEASON COVERAGE:

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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