Virden’s Tyler Kirkup is excited for his second year playing hockey and studying at Bemidji State University.
“What I am looking forward to most is being familiar with all of my teammates and how everything works system wise on the ice and in the classroom,” said the son of Kary and Suzanne Kirkup.
Last season Kirkup enjoyed a solid rookie season with his Minnesota school’s NCAA Division I men’s hockey team. Kirkup posted seven points, including two goals, in 27 games.
The 6-foot, 203-pound forward had a strong stretch between Jan. 26 and Feb. 22 when he tallied six points over six games. Kirkup had a goal and an assist against Lake Superior State University on Jan. 26 and repeated those stats in his next outing on Feb. 8 versus Ferris State.
“What I enjoyed most about my first year at university was the atmosphere at the rink,” said Kirkup, a business finance major. “Going everyday to our amazing rink was a privilege and playing in front of our fans is something I’ll never forget.”
The former Virden Oil Capitals standout said college hockey differs from junior in a few ways.
“The guys are older and have been playing good hockey for years so they all act like professionals,” Kirkup said. “They do everything they can to become better hockey players, so it was nice being around that everyday and learning everything I could. It was also very fast paced in practices and games, and it took a bit to get into the swing of things.”
He played three full seasons for his hometown Oil Capitals. Kirkup was named the team’s regular season Most Valuable Player as he posted 40 goals and 75 points during the 2017-2018 campaign. The assistant captain helped the Oil Caps reach the Manitoba Junior Hockey League finals.
“I enjoyed everything about playing for the Caps, from the fans to the rink, the staff, and my teammates,” Kirkup said. “I enjoyed every second of it. It all helped my game by pushing me to be the best player and person that I could be.”
He has also been helped by the strong support of his family, including his parents and sister Karissa.
“My family’s support of me in everything since I was a little kid has been amazing,” Kirkup said. “Anything they could do to support me in hockey the last 16 years or so has been done. I will always remember what they’ve done for me to get me where I am today.”