MSHSL History Capsule: Amber Fryklund
Posted: Monday, December 4, 2023 - 3:48 PM
It was 1997 and the Minnesota State High School League was unveiling a Girls Hockey State Tournament format that featured eight teams at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Falcon Heights.
The co-op of Hibbing/Chisholm, from Minnesota’s Iron Range, was also making its debut and faced a tall task in the quarterfinals. The Bluejackets, who entered the state tournament as the Section 8 champion with a 21-4 record, had the unenviable task of facing defending state champion Roseville, who was riding a 51-game winning streak. A storybook finish was in store for the Bluejackets, buoyed by the performance of all-state forward Amber Fryklund.
The upstart Bluejackets scored three answered goals in the third period to record a dramatic 4-3 victory over Roseville in the quarterfinals. While Beth Wolff had the game-winner with 18 seconds left in regulation time, Fryklund helped set the stage with two goals. She starred again in a 4-2 victory over Blaine in the semifinals when she tallied three goals. The crafty playmaker had a goal in the first period and two more in the second to propel Hibbing into a spot not many had figured: A championship game. The title game was opposite Eagan and its young scoring sensation, seventh-grader Natalie Darwitz.
Fryklund set the tone with a goal to open the game and scored three more from there in pacing the Bluejackets to a 6-3 victory in becoming the first Girls Hockey champion from Greater Minnesota. Fryklund tied a state tournament record held by two others for most goals in a tournament with nine. She was a finalist for the Ms. Hockey Award that season that ultimately went to Burnsville’s Laura Slominski.
“We had a storybook season in 1996-97,” Fryklund told Minnesota author Packy Mader. “With the friendships we built, the relationships we had, and the memories we made.”
After high school, Fryklund began her collegiate career at then-Mankato State before transferring to Bemidji State, which was fostering a move for its women’s hockey team from club status to varsity level. In three seasons, she scored 59 goals and assisted on 63 others in 100 games.
After high school coaching stints, she returned to Bemidji State and now serves as an Associate Head Coach.