Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) women's hockey team opened up its 2013-14 season on Saturday with its first official practice at AMSOIL Arena with Shannon Miller at the helm for her 15th season.
The Bulldogs lost nine players from a team that finished fourth in the WCHA but picked up eight freshmen in their places. UMD will also be without Brigette Lacquette who's vying for a spot with the Canadian Olympic Team.
UMD finished below .500 in 2012-13 for the first time in program history but hope sophomore goalie Kayla Black can stay healthy this season after missing time with a broken hand last year.
Senior forward Jamie Kenyon will lead UMD as the captain while junior Zoe Hickel and Duluth native Emma Stauber will serve as assistant captains.
For Miller, there's nothing like the first day of practice.
"The first official practice is really exciting," Miller said. "You know, butterflies, just trying to get them to fly into formation. It's a lot of fun. It's expectations of having a good season. It's the first step. It's the beginning."
"It's awesome. We can finally start getting into a routine. It's hockey season again so we're all really pumped up."
UMD opens up their season Saturday, Sept 28 against the Japanese National Team for an exhibition game.