DI men’s hockey mid-season commitment Bogenholm will strengthen Flames’ defensive ranks
Former North American Hockey League player and Air Force Academy commitment Reid Bogenholm recently committed to play for Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team starting in January, giving a depleted defensive corps some depth for the spring semester and into the March 16-21 ACHA DI National Championships in Boston.
“With the amount of injuries we’ve had, we realized that the addition of some extra players down the stretch would help us out,” Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “We had to use three defensemen from the Division II team recently, and Reid is a solid pickup. He is someone who’s going to come in and complement our other seven defensemen, a guy who’s going to be able to help us out on the back end. He is a puck-moving defenseman who can play with some speed and some jam in his game and will jump in a play to make things happen.”
Bogenholm, whose family recently moved to Tennessee, is originally from Minnesota, where he grew up playing the sport on a few of the state’s 10,000 frozen lakes. He visited Liberty’s campus for the third time in November after skating with current Flames forwards Jackson Vercellono and Truett Olson at NorthStar Christian Academy in Alexandria, Minn., last summer. He learned about Liberty’s program through them as well as FCA Hockey Director Rick Randazzo, who is based there.
“They talked about Liberty and the culture and everything and being able to grow in the Lord, too, and being in relationship with Him in your walk, which is huge,” he said. “I went to the (first) Midnight (Mayhem) game (Oct. 2 against Niagara), which was awesome. The fans are amazing, the school is amazing. It’s an awesome group of guys and an unbelievable culture.”
Handy said off the ice, Bogenhom should make a seamless transition to life at Liberty.
“Culturally, he’s a fantastic fit,” he said. “For us, we are looking at getting him in the games and finding ways to put him into positions to make our team and him successful.”
Bogenholm also played football until high school, and considered following the footsteps of his father, who was a defensive end at North Dakota State, a perennial FCS championship contender.
“High school was when I focused on hockey, partly because football is such a violent, injury-filled sport,” he said. “Hockey’s definitely easier on the body and I just love the sport, and the camaraderie among teammates a lot better.”
After graduating high school in 2020, Bogenholm played for three different NAHL teams, spending his rookie year with the Minot (N.D.) Minotauros before starting the 2021-22 season with the Minnesota Magicians and being traded to the St. Cloud Norsemen. A shoulder injury and subsequent surgery and rehabilitation sidelined him for all but one game that season and all but two this past fall, before he opted to play at the collegiate level.
“I am grateful for my time in juniors,” Bogenholm said. “I just felt like it was the right time to get on with my life and start school and play the game I love at such a prestigious university with a good coaching staff and group of guys.”
He anticipates his transition from the NAHL to the ACHA ranks will be a smooth one.
“It’s pretty similar,” Bogenholm said. “I would say that guys are a little bigger, stronger, and faster here.”
He considers his skating ability and ice awareness to be two of his strengths as a defenseman.
“I am definitely an offensive defenseman, but am not a liability by any means, and will be able to find the balance between offense and defense and keeping the puck out of the net,” Bogenholm said. “I feel like part of the group already and am ready to get going.”
At Liberty, he plans to study cybersecurity through the School of Business.
“I’m looking forward to getting some kind of government job, I don’t know if it’s military work or not,” said Bogenholm, who changed his mind on going to the Air Force Academy after committing to that program when he was 16.
He doesn’t rule out playing hockey professionally after his college career is though.
“I do want to see how far I can get,” Bogenholm said. “I feel good right now. I just want to come in and be a good fit for the guys and help the team out and do whatever I can to help them win.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer