The Skippers opened the season ranked No. 1 in the Class AA Let’s Play Hockey Coaches poll. Ashton Schultz (right) is committed to North Dakota and Luke Garry (left) is committed to St. Thomas. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS

Defending champion Minnetonka ranked No. 1 to start season

by Bryan Zollman

The Class AA field is chock full of Division I talent, but as Herb Brooks rightfully stated decades ago when picking his 1980 Miracle On Ice squad, it’s not about having the best players, it’s about having the right ones.

Talent, of course, can bring teams deep into postseason runs. It is a necessity for any team that hopes to compete for the coveted crowning achievement in high school hockey. 

But we have seen many talented teams rely so much on talent that something is missing, and those intangibles are sometimes the difference between a 3-2 win and a 3-2 loss in a big game. Or, sometimes a team just has a really good goalie, or gets a bounce or a call to go their way.

In addition to talent, teams must have leadership, character, coaching, and a bit of luck.

Let’s Play Hockey conducted their pre-season coaches poll after the first week of practice. It’s always difficult to rank teams, which is why we ask those who know best ­— the coaches. And this season they picked up where last season left off with Minnetonka ranked atop the Class AA field. 

The Skippers took home the state title last year after a 2-1 win over Edina. They finished 29-2 and bring back a load of talent with a roster almost half full of Division I commits. Yet, the Skippers had to go into overtime in the quarterfinals to beat a young and inexperienced Hill-Murray squad that entered the tournament with a near .500 record.

It is further proof of the parity in Class AA hockey. There never is a clear favorite, although the Class AA field is seeing more and more of the same teams competing every year.

But there are always emerging programs as well. For example, Chanhassen cemented themselves as a contender last season before being bumped in the section playoffs by Minnetonka. Can the Storm make more waves this season with a crop of experienced players returning, including perhaps the state’s top goaltender.

And let’s not forget about Rogers, just up the road from Maple Grove. Who remembers when Maple Grove was an up-and-coming program. Now they are a perennial contender and a college prospect factory.

Will this be the year Maple Grove wins their first title? 

Moorhead has been the bridesmaid, but never the bride. Will this be their year?

St. Thomas Academy had a Class A run for the books, but can they get there in AA?

So many good players, so many good teams, and so many good games yet to play.

Who will be there in the end?

It may not be the team that looks best on paper. It will likely be determined by whatever team has all the right parts clicking at the right time.

1. Minnetonka29-2-0
2. Edina22-7-1
3. Chanhassen24-4-0
4. Wayzata19-7-2
5. Hill-Murray16-14-1
6. Rogers18-7-3
7. Moorhead19-11-0
8. Maple Grove23-7-1
9. St. Thomas Academy19-8-0
10. Andover23-7-1
11. Cretin-Derham Hall19-11-1
12. White Bear Lake20-6-0
13. Holy Family Catholic20-6-0
14. Duluth East20-7-1
15. Grand Rapids13-13-1
16. Benilde-St. Margaret’s18-9-0
17. Eden Prairie13-13-1
18. Coon Rapids12-13-2
19. Lakeville South21-8-1
20. Roseau17-10-1


Centennial, Champlin Park, Academy of Holy Angels, Stillwater, Elk River/Zimmerman, Rosemount, Lakeville North, Shakopee, Gentry Academy, Park-Cottage Grove.

A section-by-section breakdown:

Here is a breakdown of every team, section-by-section:

Section 1AA

Farmington Tigers

Coach: Scott Macho 

State Tournaments: 1994, 2000, ‘16

2022-23 Record: 3-23-0

Top Returners: Jacob Miller Jr./F (2-7-9), Kellen Conway Jr./D (2-5-7), Everett Bennett Jr./F (4-2-6), Brandon Risch Jr./F (4-2-6).

Season Outlook: With just three wins last season and losing their top three scorers, Farmington will look to bring in some new players to help elevate their offense. Last year their top scorer had just 10 points. They last won a section title in 2016.

Lakeville North Panthers

Coach: Jake Taylor

State Tournaments: 2006, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ’15 (State Champions), ’18

2022-23 Record: 13-15-0

Top Returners: Tyler Arneson Sr./F (16-19-35), Marcus Jackson Sr./D (3-8-11), Wyatt Brunello Jr./D (1-6-7), Parker Schultz Jr./F (4-3-7), Van Eigner Sr./G (3-10-0/3.74/.873), Carter Mayfield (Jr./G (6-4-0/2.57/.908.

Season Outlook: The Panthers bring back their top scorer in Tyler Arneson but lose six of their top seven scorers to graduation. They will rely on some newcomers to help fortify the offense and power play. They do have experience at goalie with Eigner and Mayfield both seeing action last year. 

Lakeville South Cougars

Coach: Josh Storm

State Tournaments: 2008, ‘12, ‘17, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21, ‘22, ‘23

2022-23 Record: 21-8-1

Top Returners: Brayden Olson Jr./F (17-24-41), Jackson Ernst Jr./F (9-9-18), Will Kortan Jr./F (8-9-17), Eiji Hoffmann Sr./D (5-3-8), Colten Kunkel Sr./D (3-5-8), Luke Johnson Jr./D (1-4-5), William Weidemann Sr./F (2-2-4).

Season Outlook: With five straight section titles, it’s Lakeville South’s section to lose. Although they lose quite a bit of scoring (100 of 145 goals)and their starting goalie they are still the favorites heading into the season and are poised to make their sixth straight state tourney appearance. But it won’t come without some challenges.

New Prague Trojans

Coach: Brad Drazan

State Tournaments: 2014, ’15, ‘22

2022-23 Record: 16-11-0

Top Returners: Will Seymour Sr./F (24-27-51), Braeden Woitas Sr./F (18-13-31), Michael Broikus Sr./F (10-20-30), Eric Berg Sr./F (12-9-21), Connor Williams Jr./F (6-7-13), Cade Borwege So./F (4-7-11), Max Hanzel Sr./F (2-4-6), Sean Christianson Sr./D (2-3-5), Dylan Clark Jr./D (0-2-2), Brady Engelking Jr./F (1-1-2), Bobby Goggins Jr./F (0-1-1), Oskar Pomerenke Sr./G (6-4-1/3.98/.871), Cole Murphy (5-6-0/4.05/.869).

Season Outlook: New Prague has a fast squad with a strong group of returning forwards and two goaltenders who saw ample action a year ago. But they are jumping up a class so their may be a learning curve. However they did play 10 AA games last season and went 3-6-1. They will have a senior-laden offense and could be a surprise team come section time.

Owatonna Huskies

Coach: Dennis Will

State Tournaments: 1998

2022-23 Record: 11-13-2

Top Returners: Andrew Mitchel Jr./F (14-12-26), Joseph Webster Sr./F (6-10-16), Mark Spurgeon Sr./D (5-8-13), Broderick Goodnature Sr./F (5-8-13), Thomas Herzong Sr./F (5-6-11), Ethan Fitch Sr./D (2-6-8), Jackson Kath So./F (2-5-7), Seth Johnson Jr./D (0-7-7), Jack Strom Sr./D (3-4-7), Zach Knott Jr./F (5-1-6), Brennan Sletten Sr./G (9-5-0/1.93/.919).

Season Outlook: The Huskies bring back most of their squad that won 11 games last season. They also bring back goaltender Brennan Sletten who put up great numbers in his 14 games in 2022-23. They will look to improve on their 11 wins and be a spoiler come section playoff time.

Rochester Century Panthers

Coach: Josh Klingfus, Matt Erridge

State Tournaments: 2005, ’07, ’09 (as Rochester Century)

2022-23 Record: 16-11-0

Top Returners: Ole Fevold Jr./F (16-20-36), Aiden Emerich Sr./F (17-19-36), Bennett Pronk Jr./F (12-11-23), Brody Josselyn Sr./D (4-15-19), Brock Clarey Jr./F (6-11-17), Justin Sutton Sr./F (6-9-15), Jonathan Burmester Sr./F (7-7-14), Aaron Terpstra Sr./D (5-4-9), Damon Miller Sr./F (6-2-8), Owyn Tomminello Jr./D (2-5-7), Peyton Eckhoff Jr./F (4-3-7), Kyle Lappi Jr./G (5-7-0/3.09/.888), Thor Shelley (2-0-0/1.76/.918)

Season Outlook: The Panthers are coming off a 16-win season and a hard-fought 5-4 section win over Hastings in the quarterfinals before falling to Lakeville South in the semis 6-0. They return a good portion of their scoring and two goalies with experience and have a chance to improve on those 16 wins and potentially make some noise in a section where the perennial powers are going through a bit of a rebuild.

Rochester Mayo Spartans

Coach: Matt Noterman

State Tournaments: 1982, ’92, ’94, ’95, ’97, ’99, 2000.

2022-23 Record: 19-6-2

Top Returners: Gavin Nickelsen Sr./F (3-6-9), Mikkel Norby Sr./D (2-5-7), Rocco Corl Jr./F (3-3-6), Thomas Verdick Jr./D (0-6-6), Maddox Christopherson Jr./D (0-1-1), Connor Dahl Sr./F (0-1-1), Mikah Nelson Sr./G (2-0-0/1.69/.905.

Season Outlook: The Spartans graduated 11 seniors off last year’s team that won 19 games so they will be looking at bringing in some young players who may take. Ayear to get some experience under their belt. 

Section 2AA

Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars

Coach: Matt Elsen

State Tournaments: 1980, ’81 (Champions), ’82, ’85, ’86, ’88, ’89 (Champions), ’92 (Champions), ’93 (Champions), ’94 (Champions), ’95, ’97, ’98, 2000, ’02, ’05.

2022-23 Record: 3-22-1

Top Returners: Joseph Kubas Sr./F (11-17-18), Owen Baker Sr./F (6-6-12), Jordan Wang Sr./F (4-6-10), Garrett Fest Sr./F (4-3-7), Dillan Smidt Sr./D (1-5-6), Bode Campbell Jr./D (1-4-5), Kevin Graff Jr./D (0-5-5), Bennett Lindman Sr./D (0-5-5).

Season Outlook: The Jaguars are 18 years removed from their last state tournament appearance and play in one of the tougher sections in AA. They won just three games a year ago and lose three of their top four scorers. They will look for Baker, Wang and Fest to amp up the offense this season to provide much-needed scoring.

Chanhassen Storm

Coach: Sean Bloomfield

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 24-4-0

Top Returners: Jack Christ Sr./F (20-25-45), Gavin Uhlenkamp Sr./F (16-29-45), Caden Lee (Sr./F (25-18-43), Tyler Smith Sr./F (16-22-38), Owen Buesgens Sr./D (6-24-30), Brayden Willis Sr./F (16-13-29), Andy Earl Sr./F (10-18-28), Jack Risch Sr./F (10-12-22), Drew Jensen Sr./D (2-12-14), Billy McNeely Sr./D (1-6-7), Colton Wassengeso Sr./D (2-5-7).

Season Outlook: The Storm are searching for their first section championship after knocking on the door last year when they hovered in the top 5 in the rankings on a weekly basis. They return plenty of talent with 15 seniors returning including several Division I commits such as Jack Christ (Minnesota State), Gavin Uhlenkamp (Wisconisn), Caden Lee (Minnesota State) and Owen Buesgens (St. Thomas). The only question mark will be between the pipes as goalie Kam Hendrickson was possibly headed to juniors although at the time of this printing was still undecided. Look for the Storm to be right there at the end competing for a section title with several players putting up great numbers offensively.

Gavin Uhlenkamp is one of the top players in the state and will look to lead Chanhassen along with a deep roster as they battle in Section 2AA against defending state champion Minnetonka who also brings back a deep roster. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS

Chaska Hawks

Coach: Ryan Siiro

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 8-17-1

Top Returners: Peyton Chase Jr./F (5-6-11), Ty Smith Jr./F (5-6-11), Colin Bohlinger Jr./F (5-3-8), Ryan Jirele So./F (2-3-5), Cole Seaverson Sr./D (1-4-5), Luke Anderson Sr./D (2-1-3), Logan Grinnell Sr./D (2-0-2), Tyler Nesheim Jr./G (2-6-0/2.88/.916), Logan Hutchings Sr./G (0-4-1/4.14/.860).

Season Outlook: The Hawks will need to find some much-needed scoring after losing their top six point-getters from a year ago. 

Eden Prairie Eagles

Coach: Mike Terwilliger

State Tournaments: 1992, ’99, 2001, ’03, ’09 (Champions), ’11 (Champions), ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’19, ’20, ’21 (Champions).

2022-23 Record: 13-13-1

Top Returners: Teddy Townsend Sr./F (14-25-39), Mason Moe Jr./F (18-9-27), Cole Saterdalen Sr./F (11-10-21), Dylan Vornwald Sr./D (4-111-15), John Kleis Jr./F (7-4-11), Tate Bloch Sr./D (2-9-11), Alex Hall Jr./F (2-8-10), Tommy Moen Sr./D (2-6-8), Nick Koering Jr./D (0-3-3), Rio Treharne Jr./D (2-2-4), Isaiah Paulnock Sr./G (11-12-1/2.26/.908), Jack Mlodozyniec Sr./G (2-1-0/3.86/.821).

Season Outlook: After seven state tournament trips in eight years from 2014-21the Eagles have missed out on the past two, but hope to get back to competing for a section title. They finished .500 last season, but took Chanhassen to overtime in the Section semifinals. They only lose one player to graduation in stellar defenseman Ryan Koering. Two others transferred, but the Eagles should have plenty of skilled players to compete for the section title, led by senior Teddy Townsend, a top player in the metro ranks.

Holy Family Catholic Fire

Coach: Erik Westrum

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 20-6-0

Top Returners: Holden Pajor Jr./F (25-36-61), Bryce Wiitala Jr./F (15-29-44), Drew Roelofs Sr./F (14-15-29), Jack Gleason Jr./F (6-13-19), Sawyer Graubins Jr./F (6-7-13), Cameron Dean Jr./D (3-9-12), Connor Crowley Sr./F (3-9-12), Thomas Laaksonen Sr./D (3-9-12), Alex Doshan Sr./D (3-5-8), Carson Moe Jr./D (1-6-7), Connor Sessa Sr./F (2-5-7).

Season Outlook: The Fire won 20 games a year ago and hope to repeat that feat with a strong core of good players returning both on offense and the blue line. Holden Pajor, Bryce Wiitala and Drew Roelofs all return from double-digit scoring years and will likely increase their offensive output. Roelofs recently committed to the University of St. Thomas.  The Fire will also bring back what should be a solid defensive group, giving them enough firepower to compete come section time. 

Minnetonka Skippers

Coach: Sean Goldsworthy

State Tournaments: 1985, ’90, ’94, 2006, ’10, ’18 (Champions), ’23 (Champions).

2022-23 Record: 29-2-0

Top Returners: Hagen Burrows Sr./F (24-26-50), Gavin Garry Sr./F (20-25-45), Javon Moore Sr./F (10-27-37), Ashton Schultz Jr./F (14-22-36), John Stout Sr./D (8-19-27), Luke Garry Sr./F (13-12-25), Sam Scheetz Sr./F (9-16-25) Alex Lunski Sr./F (11-13-24), Danny Klaers Jr./D (1-13-14), Zach Markwell So./D (2-10-12), Robby House Sr./D (2-9-11), Hunter Bauer Sr./G (5-0-0/0.40/.973).

Season Outlook: It would be hard to bet against a Minnetonka team who won the state championship a year ago and brings back their top seven scorers and four defensemen. They are the clear favorite to win Section 2AA, but of course will have a target on their back as the reigning champion. With all of their seniors returning, it proves this team isn’t satisfied with one state title. They are hungry for another one. With nine Division I players on their roster, they are the clear favorite not to just come out of Section 2AA, but to win it all.

Prior Lake Lakers

Coach: Joe Pankratz

State Tournaments: 2022

2022-23 Record: 11-14-1

Top Returners: Levi Eiter Jr./F (5-11-16), Matthew Pavek Sr./F (7-8-15), Brayden Pelcl Jr./F (5-8-13), Will Emerson Sr./D (4-9-13), Graham Erickson Sr./F (8-4-12), Brody Stephany Sr./F (3-6-9), C.J. Sheffield Sr./D (1-5-6), Tristan Pownall Jr./D (1-2-3), Max Anderson Sr./F (2-1-3), Hunter Macgillivray Sr./F (1-0-1).

Season Outlook: The Lakers return 10 players who saw varsity action last year and lost their top two scorers to graduation. They will look to compete in one of the tougher sections in the state, a section they won just two years ago.

Shakopee Sabres

Coach: Calvin Simon

State Tournaments: 2005

2022-23 Record: 16-11-0

Top Returners: Cooper Siegert So./F (6-17-23), Carson Steinhoff So./D (2-20-22), Nate Pederson So./F (8-14-22), Jack Kultgen So./D (5-8-13), Jack Marschall (Sr./F (3-7-10), Aleksi Huson Sr./G (14-10-0/3.21/.906), Alex Pherson Sr./G (2-1-0/2.46/.893).

Season Outlook: The Sabres’ top scorers returning were all freshmen a year ago, so they may be a year for two rom being a section favorite, but they also return two goaltenders and enough talent to give the likes of Minnetonka and Chanhassen fits if they can play good enough defense and keep it a low-scoring affair. They should win a fair amount of games this season, but will be hurt by the early departure of their top scorer Cooper Simpson. Aleksi Huson posted a .906 save percentage last season and will be strong between the pipes for the Sabres. It will be another year of growth for a young team who will make a bigger splash perhaps next year and the year after. But don’t count them out.

Waconia Wildcats

Coach: Anthony Reynolds

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 15-13-0

Top Returners: Mitch Nelson Sr./F (6-9-15), Charlie Junge Jr./F (6-4-10), Drew Puchner Jr./F (4-6-10), Luke Koschinska Jr.’/D (2-6-8) Ayden Siddons Sr./F (4-4-8), Jack Ulrich Sr./D (0-2-2), Blake Eberhart Sr./F (1-0-1), Carter Hertzog (Sr./D (1-0-1), Brody Butler Jr./G (7-5-0/2.86/.901).

Season Outlook: The Wildcats lose their top four scorers after their 15-win season last year so will look for some young players to step in and provide some much-needed offense.

Section 3AA

Apple Valley/Burnsville Eagles

Coach: Chris Sikich

State Tournaments: Apple Valley: 1981, ’92, ’93, ’96 (Champions), 2010. As Burnsville” 1983, ’84, ’85 (Champions), ’86 (Champions), ’87, ’90, ’91, 2007, 2016.

2022-23 Record: 9-16-1

Top Returners: Fisher Hatfield Jr./F (7-11-18), Noah Naros Jr./D (3-6-9), Nolan Mickelson Sr./F (5-3-8), Meyer Kreutzmann Sr./F (1-4-5), Eli Wells Sr./F (0-2-2), Luke Syverson Sr./D (0-1-1).

Season Outlook: The Eagles won nine games a year ago, but lose four of their top five scorers and both goalies. They will look for some newcomers to step in and fill some roster spots.

Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders

Coach: Matt Funk

State Tournaments: 1988, 2006 (Champions), ’09, ’22,’23.

2022-23 Record: 19-11-1

Top Returners: Chuck Owens Sr./F (11-17-28), Max Anderson So./F 15-11-26, Nate Chorlton So./F (6-10-16), Jimmy Dodig Jr./D (4-12-16), Max Bennett Jr./F (3-9-12), Veszi Lippai Jr./F (3-5-8), Leo Miller Sr./G (10-5-0/2.49/.906.

Season Outlook: The Raiders have won back-to-back Section 3AA titles and have some good young players coming up. They did lose their top three scorers who combined for 145 points, including Mr. Hockey finalist Jake Fisher. They do bring back Chuck Owens (Air Force) and Jimmy Dodig (Merrimack) to bolster their roster. “We expect to compete for the SEC conference championship, Section 3AA Championship, and make a run at State Championship,” said head coach Matt Funk

Eagan Wildcats

Coach: Todd Carlson

State Tournaments: 2006, ’11, ’12, ’14.

2022-23 Record: 9-17-0

Top Returners: Eddie Moore Sr./F (5-9-14), Danny Lachenmayer Sr./F (6-7-13), Keaton Orrey Sr./D (8-4-12), Christian Nichols Jr./D (0-8-8), AJ Clark Sr./F (4-4-8), Hudson Kerr Sr./F/D (1-6-7), Cullen O’Leary Sr./F (5-2-7), Lance Murray Sr./D (2-4-6), Isaac Martin Sr./D (1-5-6), Grayson Robbins Sr./F (1-3-4), Peyton Jensen Sr./D (0-1-1), Brylee Koenck-Proeung Sr./F (1-0-1).

Season Outlook: The Wildcats return a good portion of their roster and after strong second half to the season last year look to come out of the gate strong and compete in their conference.

Eastview Lightning

Coach: Aaron Fulton

State Tournaments: 2001, ‘13

2022-23 Record: 17-10-0

Top Returners: Jordan Brothers Sr.  (20-21-41), Zach Wooten Sr. (14-21-35), Billy Downs Sr. (10-5-15), Kevin Woehler Sr. (1-8-9), Caleb Nelson Sr. (2-6-8), Brayden Kaldenbach Sr. (3-2-5), Max Powers-Brekke Jr. (0-1-1), Abram Johnson Sr. (0-1-1). 

Season Outlook: The Lightning won 17 games last year and will have a strong senior-laden group returning this season with hopes of improving on their win total and competing in the section playoffs. 

Hastings Raiders

Coach: Matt Klein

State Tournaments: 1971, ’85, ’98, ,99, 200, ’01.

2022-23 Record: 15-10-1

Top Returners: Blake Vandehoef Sr./F (18-17-35), Jon Harris Jr./F (9-18-27), Mark DeNoyer Sr./F (9-18-27), Connor Zgoda Sr./F (11-10-21), Brody Carlson Jr./D (2-6-8), John Teiglan Sr./D (1-7-8), Sawyer Zaruba Sr./D (1-7-8), Austin Shanks Sr./F (3-2-5), Matt Sherry Jr./D (1-2-3), Sawyer Tjomsland Sr./F (1-1-2), Ryan Clemens Sr./G.

Season Outlook: The Raiders find themselves in a different section this season, but one equally as tough (is there a non-tough section in the state?). They return four strong forwards in Vandehoef, Harris, DeNoyer and Zgoda and also return a solid defensive crew to stabilize the blueline, giving them balance on both ends of the ice. If the offense can take another step forward and they can get good goaltending, the Raiders are a team that could surprise some others in Section 3AA.

Park-Cottage Grove Wolfpack

Coach: Jeff Corkish

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 16-9-1

Top Returners: Jackson Rudh Jr./F (22-37-59), Owen Corkish Jr./F (16-33-49), Gavin Moss Jr./F (24-19-43), Adam Friemann Sr./D (1-10-11), Caden Schwartz Jr./D (2-6-8), Wyatt Beaurline Sr./D (0-4-4), Max Kaplan Jr./F (0-3-3), Tommy Lucas Sr./D (1-2-3), Aiden Miller Jr./G (6-3-0/2.18/.912).

Season Outlook: The Wolfpack returns their top dogs and one of, if not, the top lines in the section. Rudh/Corkish/Moss scored 62 goals last season as sophomores and look to cause even more havoc on opposing defenses this season. They will also bring back four stellar defensemen and could play a sleeper role come section playoff time.

St. Thomas Academy Cadets

Coach: Mike Randolph. 

State Tournaments: 1999, ’05, ’06 (Class A Champs), ’07 , ’08 (Class A Champs), ’11 (Cl;ass A Champs), ’12 (Class A Champs), ’13 (Class A Champs), ’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20, ‘2.

2022-23 Record: 19-8-0

Top Returners: Max Candon Jr./F (7-10-17), Brody Seitz Sr./D (4-11-15), Will Dosan Jr./F (8-6-14), Patch Cronin (Jr./D (0-12-12), Jimmy Zavoral Sr./F (5-7-12), Mikey Mikan Jr./F (4-6-10), Tommy Kertz Jr./D (2-5-7), Cole Braunshausen So./F (5-1-6), Tommy Kubes Sr./F (1-4-5), Peter Murray So./F (0-1-1), Luca Pedri So./F (0-1-1), Luke McPherson Jr./F (1-0-1), Nikko Russ Jr./F (0-1-1), Cody Niesen Jr./G (6-5-0/2.06/.901).

Season Outlook: After a string of five straight section titles, the Cadets have been on a two-year hiatus as Cretin-Derham Hall has won the past two seasons. Is this the year STA gets back on top and back to state? They lose their top three scorers including Tommy Cronin, but return 13 players with experience, including goaltender Cody Niesen who saw action in 11 games and posted an impressive .901 save percentage.

Two Rivers Warriors

Coach: Brandon Ferraro 

State Tournaments: (Henry Sibley)1973, ’74, ’75, ’76, ’82, ’83, ’93, ’97 

2022-23 Record: 17-9-1

Top Returners: Eddie Auran Jr./F (17-10-27), Preston Gamer Jr./F (9-17-26), Will Auran Sr./D (5-14-19), Nate Rohrer Sr./F (9-10-19), Andrew Eckmann Sr./D (3-4-7), Nico Ferraro Sr./F (1-3-4), Vincent Schuehle Sr./D (2-2-4), William Geddes Jr./D (0-2-2), Jack Staples Sr./F (1-1-2), Brady Altier Sr./G (8-5-1/2.09/.924).

Season Outlook: The Warriors return a good chunk of scoring, four defensemen led by senior Will Auran, and a strong goaltender in Brady Altier as they look to make some noise in the section and improve on their 17 wins from a year ago.

Section 4AA

East Ridge Raptors

Coach: Dustin Vogelsang

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 12-12-1

Top Returners: Blake Kohnen Jr/F (9-9-18), Davis Polifka Sr./D (2-9-11), Jake Elliott Sr./D (0-6-6), Brandon Muth Sr./F (4-2-6), Jake Gonzaga Sr./D (0-3-3), Cole Widen Sr./F (2-1-3), Hank Garrett Jr./F (0-1-1) Evan Hillmeyer (Sr./F (1-0-1), Easton Hugdahl Sr./D (0-1-1), JT Drum Sr./G, Zan lanahan Sr./G.

Season Outlook: After a .500 season the Raptors will look to improve on their win total, but will have to find some scoring from some newcomers. They will be strong on the blueline and will have two goalies competing for action between the pipes.

Gentry Academy Stars

Coach: Kyle Follmer

State Tournaments: 2021 (Class A Champions)

2022-23 Record: 19-9-0

Top Returners: Ryder Betzold Jr./F (20-13-33), Eli Bailey Sr./F (7-24-31), Justin Obrochta Sr./F (7-12-19), Dakotah Bailey So./F (7-11-18), Easton Rooney Sr./F (8-10-18), Ryan Whiterabbit Sr./D (1-16-17), Jacob Guille Jr./D (0-10-10) Brock Fairbanks Jr./F (4-4-8), Michael Casey Sr./D (0-8-8), Quinn O’Connor (2-2-4), Brody Bultinck Jr./D (0-3-3), Cj Eytcheson Sr./D (0-2-2), Cam Garrity So./D 0-1-1), Cole Peltier (Sr./D (0-1-1). 

Season Outlook: Just two years removed from the school’s first state title (Class A), the Stars missed out on last year’s tourney with Hill-Murray coming out of the section. The Stars return a good chunk of scoring and also bring back plenty of help on the blue line. Goaltending will be a question mark, but chances are Gentry will be right there at the end of the year battling for a shot at their first AA state tourney.

Hill-Murray returns a deep roster that won the consolation title last season. Above, Graham Greeder battles for a loose puck against Minnetonka at last year’s state tournament. The young Pioneers took the eventual state champions to overtime in the state quarterfinals. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS

Hill-Murray Pioneers

Coach: Bill Lechner

State Tournaments: 1975, ’76,’77,’78,’79,’80,’83 (Champions), ’84,’85,’86,’87,’88, ’91 (Champions), ’92,’93,’97,’98, 2000,’02,’06,’07,’08(Champions),’09,’10,’11,’12,’13,’15,’17,’ 18,’20 (Champions),’21,’22,’23.

2022-23 Record: 16-14-1

Top Returners: Brady Knutsen Sr./F (11-12-23), Landon Cottingham Jr./D (8-14-22), Jackson Reeves Jr./F (11-11-22), Lucas Mann Sr./F (7-10-17), Graham Greeder Jr./D (4-12-16), Boden Sampair Jr./F (8-8-16), Simon Seidl Sr./F (5-10-15), Jude Bonin Sr./F (8-7-15), Riley Zupfer Fr./F (7-7-14), Casper Lang So./D (3-8-11), Seth Klepac Sr./D (3-5-8), Ryan Madigan Sr./F (3-5-8), Joseph Luger Sr./D (2-4-6), Cullen Ingebritson Jr./F (1-1-2), Zach Laumeyer Sr/F (2-0-2), Caden Zasada Fr./F (1-0-1), Jack Blissenbach Sr./F 0-1-1, Andrew Lane Sr./G (3-1-0/1.25/.930).

Season Outlook: The Pioneers were a young team last season when they ended up consolation champions at the state tournament. This year they bring back 18 players who have varsity experience and aren’t just the favorites to win the section, but are likely to be a top five team heading into the season. This team isn’t full of Division I recruits, but will bring back a balanced scoring attack and a strong defensive crew. Their strength will be their depth. Expect to see the Pioneers back at the X for their 35th state tourney. 

Mounds View Mustangs

Coach: Garrett Windle

StateTournaments: 1968,’69,’76,’77,’78.

2022-23 Record: 12-13-1

Top Returners: Johnny Conlin Sr./F (25-36-51), Sam Schulte Jr./D (16-30-46), Aiden Bale Sr./F (7-9-16), Mitch Olson Jr./F (5-3-8), Zach Baird Sr./D (0-4-4), D.J.Koch Sr./F (3-1-4), Bode Weimer Jr./D (0-2-2), Evan Hatton Sr./D (0-1-1), Andrew Hermes Sr./F (2-0-2), Max Young Sr./F (0-1-1), Owen Lee Sr./G (2-0-0/4.99/.867).

Season Outlook: The Mustangs return senior Johnny Conlin, one of the top forwards in the section. Conlin racked up 61 points as a junior and along with defenseman Sam Schulte provides the Mustangs with two players who are proven scorers and playmakers. They have a slew of other players who will look to increase their production with a year of experience under their belt. 

Roseville Raiders

Coach: Scott Steffen

State Tournaments: 1987, 2002, ’03.

2022-23 Record: 15-10-1

Top Returners: Kellen O’Rourke Jr./F (4-10-14), Collin Hites Jr./D (2-11-13), Riley Lackner Jr./D (2-8-=10), Jake Villella Jr./F (6-3-9), Jovan Fowler Sr./F (3-5-8), Drake Rivard Sr./F (2-1-3), Prentiss Maier Jr/D (0-2-2), Beck Moriarty Jr./F (0-1-1), Jake Troska Jr./D (0-1-1), Dylan Keeley Sr./G (6-8-1/3.38/.883), Cooper Stevens So./G (9-2-0/2.59/.890).

Season Outlook: The Raiders lose their top five scorers to graduation including Luke and Landon Steffen who combined for 131 points. That means several; players will have to fill some big skates this season. The Raiders will be young with just two seniors and a strong group of juniors leading the way.

Stillwater Ponies

Coach: Greg Zanon

State Tournaments: 2014, ’16.

2022-23 Record: 14-9-3

Top Returners: Brody Dustin Jr./F (8-12-20), Blake Vanek Jr./F (8-12-20), Carson Kingbay Jr/F (6-11-17), Will Kane Sr./D (1-10-11), Wyatt Carroll Sr./D )0-10-10), Luke Myers Jr./F (3-6-9), Blaine Batchelor Sr./F (4-5-9), David Calderone Sr./F (4-3-7), Matthew Volkman Jr./F (1-2-3), Nathan Harvey Sr./D (0-2-2), Alex Reedy Sr./G (2-1-0/2.60/.878).

Season Outlook: The Ponies lost 11 players to graduation from last year’s team that won 14 games. But they bring back some good young forwards and some senior defensemen gives them a solid group to compete in a tough section. Brody Dustin and Blake Vanek could very well double their point totals form a year ago when they each notched 120 points as sophomores. 

St. Paul Johnson Governors

Coach: Moose Younghans

State Tournaments: 1948,’54,’58,’69,’72,’73,’74,’79 (as Harding), 1952,’53 (as Humboldt), 1946,’47, (Champions),’51,’52,’53 (Champions),’54,’55 (Champions),’56,’57,’59,’61,’63 (Champions), ’64,’65,’66,’67,’68,’71,’84,’95.

2022-23 Record: 3-21-0

Top Returners: Isaiah Henderson Jr./F (7-8-15), Joaquin Ochocki Sr./F (9-3-12), Alex Themmes Jr./F (5-3-8), Matthew Corniea Sr./F (7-0-7), Cristian Olando-Ruiz Jr./F (3-1-4), Alex Robles So./D (0-3-3), Jozef Cunningham So./F (0-2-2), Thomas Halverson So./D (1-1-2), Justin Kasper Jr./G (3-13-0/6.49/.819), James Kray Jr./G (0-7-0/6.55/.842).

Season Outlook: The history is rich for St. Paul Johnson, which now coops with Como Park, Harding and St. Croix Lutheran. Head coach Moose Younghans has been the staple at the head of the program for decades, keeping it alive and allowing kids in St. Paul the opportunity to experience high school hockey. The team returns their top two scorers including Isaiah Henderson, a three-sport athlete, and Joaquin Ochocki. The team will be young with just two seniors, so will look for some younger players to step in and make an impact.

Tartan Titans

Coach: Cole Leitch

State Tournaments: 1961,’67,’70,’81 (as North St. Paul), 2004,’05.

2022-23 Record: 36-20-0

Top Returners: Tate Bertelsen Jr./F (1-3-4), Kellen Maher Sr./D (0-4-4), Ben Milan Sr./F (1-3-4), Mattox Maristeun Sr./D 0-3-3), Evan Reed Sr./D (1-0-1), Ben Bangura Sr./G (4-15-0/4.02/.877), Damon Hennagir Sr./G (2-5-0/3.87/.859).

Season Outlook: It will be a massive rebuilding year for the Titans who graduated their top nine scorers. Tate Bertelsen will lead the offense and Kellen Maher will anchor the defense. The team does bring back both goalies who will be looked upon to keep them in games. 

White Bear Lake Bears

Coach: Chris Anderson

State Tournaments: 1945,’46,’49,51,’56,’66,’67,’70,’82,’89,’90,’94,’95,’96,’98,’2001,’03,’05,’11,’19.

2022-23 Record: 20-6-0

Top Returners: Nolan Roed Sr./F (24-31-55), Jack Stanius Jr./F (11-22-33), Will Distad Jr./D (3-7-10), Blake Eckerle Jr./D (1-7-8), Noah Driscoll Sr./D (1-2-3), Noah Norman Jr./F (0-2-2), Aiden Akins Sr./D (0-2-2), Kevin Laska Sr./F (1-1-1), Dylan Beutow Sr./F (0-1-1), Leo Gabriel Jr./G (17-6-0/2.23/.904).

Season Outlook: Chris Anderson takes over as bench boss for the Bears after longtime coach Tim Sager stepped down. The Bears are poised every year to compete for a section title and this year is no different with one of the top players in the metro in Nolan Roed returning and junior goaltender Leo Gabriel also coming back. There will be some gaps to fill, but the White Bear Lake youth program always funnels quality talent into the high school program so the Bears will no doubt be competing in the section to get back to state for the first time since 2019.

Woodbury Royals

Coach: Wes Bolin

State Tournaments: 2007,’08

2022-23 Record: 12-14-1

Top Returners: Aiden Grossklaus Jr./F (10-26-36), Matthew Tarlton Jr./D (10-7-17), Brock Alberts Jr./F (4-10-14), Tommy Dittrich Jr./F (6-5-11), Joey Lucius Sr./F (5-6-11), Caden Schlattman Jr./D (3-7-10), Max Belak Sr./D (2-5-7), Mason Rudin Sr./F (5-1-6), Cole Simmers Sr./F (0-1-1). 

Season Outlook: The Royals return a strong group of experienced players who played large roles on last year’s squad that won 12 games and will have a good crop of young players stepping in to make up for the loss of 12 graduates. Grossklauss is committed to Minnesota State and will lead the offense as a junior. Goaltending remains an unknown factor, but longtime coach Wes Bolin, who has 526 wins in 40 years, is confident his team can be competitive.

Section 5AA

Blaine Bengals 

Coach: Trevor Frischmon

State Tournaments: 92, 96, 99, 00 (champs), 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 15, 19.

2022-23 Record: 4-23-0

Top Returners: Sam Shaughnessy Jr./F (3-5-8), Caleb Schwark Jr./D (4-3-7), Wilson Guse So./F (1-4-5), Ben Lyons Sr./F (1-4-5), Thomas Avery Sr./F (2-2-4). 

Season Outlook: The Bengals will have a lot more experience this season after a very young team in 2022-23. They also bring back their top two scorers, Sam Shaughnessy and Caleb Schwark, who were both just Sophomores last season. They will have a new face in net, as both of their goalies graduated from last year. 

Centennial Cougars 

Coach: Ritch Menne 

State Tournaments: 04 (champs), 13, 14, 18.

2022-23 Record: 15-11-1

Top Returners: Harper Searles Sr./F (20-47-67), Austin Petersen Sr./D (9-17-26), Heath Nelson Sr./F (9-11-20), Nick Carls So./F (5-9-14), Caleb Krinkie Jr./D (1-5-6), Easton Cody Jr./G (7-6-0/2.98/.900).

Season Outlook: The Cougars will have Harper Searles back for his senior season after leading the team with 67 points in 2022-23. They will have to rely on some newcomers and players who played more of a depth scoring role last season to step up and step in to fill some voids that were left by some top scorers. They will have both of their goalies from last year, Gavin Schahn and Easton Cody, both of which got plenty of experience last season. 

Champlin Park Rebels

Coach: Tom Potter 

State Tournaments: 1995

2022-23 Record: 17-10-0

Top Returners: Trevor Aberwald Sr./F (16-26-42), Will Burnevik Sr./F (9-21-30), Austin Anderson Sr./D (7-19-26), Nick Carlson Jr./F (5-12-17), Matthew Lange Sr./F (4-10-14), Evan Whipple Sr./G (5-1-0/2.90/.854).

Season Outlook: The Rebels were a great scoring team last year, scoring from up and down the roster. They bring back three of the top five scorers from last season, including Trevor Aberwald who was third on the team with 42 points. They will have to fill the void their top two scorers leave behind, but their depth scoring should help. The Rebels also bring back their top defenseman, Austin Anderson, who led all defensemen in scoring on the team. 

Coon Rapids Cardinals 

Coach: Aaron Frach

State Tournaments: N/A

2022-23 Record: 12-13-2

Top Returners: Tyler Barsness Sr./F (26-30-56), Eli Boden Sr./F (15-24-39), Cayden Alphin Jr./F (14-22-36), Trenton Theisen Sr./F (17-15-32), Ben Kish Sr./F (9-13-22), Will Wagner Sr./G (9-7-0/3.81/.892).

Season Outlook: The Cardinals bring back all players but one defenseman, one forward and one goalie. They will have a much more experienced team, bringing back all juniors and seniors, most of which got a lot of playing time n 2022-23. Tyler Barsness comes in for his senior season after leading the team in goals and assist as a Junior. 

Irondale-St. Anthony Knights 

Coach: Jerry Hayes  

State Tournaments: 79, 80, 81

2022-23 Record: 8-16-2

Top Returners: Grady Springborn Jr./F (9-6-15), Gavin Fagerlee Jr./F (8-4-12), Lincoln Urdahl Jr./F (6-6-12), Johnny Slack Sr./F (4-8-12), Gavin Bourassa Sr./F/D (2-9-11), Alex Sabev Sr./G (8-15-2/ 3.71/.917).

Season Outlook: The Knights bring back a good amount of their 2022-23 roster, but they will still be a fairly young team. Grady Springborn is heading into his junior season after being second on the team in scoring, and they will bring back their starting goalie who was excellent in 2022-23. 

Maple Grove Crimson

Coach: Todd Bergland  

State Tournaments: 12, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23.

2022-23 Record: 23-7-1

Top Returners: Lucas Busch Sr./F (14-29-43), Andrew Karkoc Jr./F (5-9-14), Joey Imgrund Sr./F (8-6-14), Connor Stelljes Sr./D (1-11-12), Luke Giuliani Sr./F (4-7-11), Zach Price Jr./G (2-0-0/0.00/1.000).

Season Outlook: The Crimson come off an incredible season in 2022-23, but with that they graduated 13 seniors, including their top three scorers. Lucas Busch is the top scoring returning forward, scoring over 40 points, so there is certainly talent coming back, but they may have to rely on some newcomers to step in and fill some scoring voids. 

Osseo Orioles 

Coach: David Prokop 

State Tournaments: 1994

2022-23 Record: 10-16-0

Top Returners: Brenden Kranz Jr./D (3-14-17), Jake Sawicky Jr./F (4-11-15), Gavin Krzoska Jr./F (2-7-9), Eli Larson Sr./F (5-4-9), Bennet Prokop Jr./F (3-5-8). 

Season Outlook: The Orioles graduated four of their top five scorers from last year, but Brenden Kranz who was fifth on the team with 17 points comes back for just his Junior season. They will be a very young team, so they may have to lean on some more experienced players to step in and score. 

Rogers Royals 

Coach: David Brown  

State Tournaments: N/A

2022-23 Record: 18-7-3

Top Returners: Mason Jenson Jr./F (23-26-49), Parker Deschene Jr./F (19-27-46), Nolen Geerdes Jr./D (3-20-23), Jackson Smithknecht Jr./D (6-13-19), Drew Krekelberg Sr./F (9-9-18). 

Season Outlook: The Royals bring back Mason Jenson and Parker Deschene for their junior season, after scoring over 40 points as sophomores. They did graduate their top defenseman, but bring back Jackson Smithknecht who should be seen as the Royals top defenseman now. 

Spring Lake Park Panthers

Coach: Connor Gagnon 

State Tournaments: 2015

2022-23 Record: 8-18-1

Top Returners: Teddy Wackman Jr./F (14-16-30), Drew Lindquist Jr./F (8-15-23), Connor Larsen Sr./F (11-9-20), Jacob Rombach Jr./D (9-10-19), Caden Lichter Jr./F (2-9-11), Brock Lück Jr./G (4-11-1/4.66/.889). 

Season Outlook: The Panthers bring back a good amount of their roster back this season, including their top scorer Teddy Wackman. They will also have experience back in the crease with Brock Luck and Sam Flaten. 

Totino-Grace Eagles

Coach: Tim Parkos  

State Tournaments: 1993, 95, 02 (champs), 05, 14.

2022-23 Record: 12-13-1

Top Returners: Thomas Quast Sr./D (7-21-28), Gabe Gallivan Sr./D (4-15-19), Sam Johnson Sr./F (11-8-19), Ben Box Jr./F (8-9-17), Tre Peck Jr./F (8-8-16), Will Warren Sr./G (4-1-1/ 3.24/.891).

Season Outlook: The Eagles will have a great return of players, this includes their top defenseman duo Thomas Quast and Gabe Gallivan who were one and two on the roster in scoring. They will also have a couple of goalies who’ve seen action before, so there is experience  in net. 

Section 6AA

Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights

Coach: Ken Pauly 

State Tournaments: 99 (champs), 01 (champs), 08, 12 (champs). 

2022-23 Record: 18-9-0

Top Returners: Caleb Koskie Sr./F (6-20-26), Ben Norris Sr./F (9-15-24), Mason Minor So./D (4-19-23), Mason Stenger Sr./D (3-19-22), Cam Kirschner Jr./F (5-12-17), Mason McElroy Sr./G (13-9-0/2.81/.895).

Season Outlook: The Red Knights lost six seniors in 2023, three of them were the teams scoring leaders last season. They do bring back Caleb Koskie who scored nearly 20 points, which was third on the team. BSM also brings back their top defensive duo with Mason Minor, and Mason Stenger who combined for 45 points in 2022-23. 

Blake Bears

Coach: Rob McClanahan

State Tournaments: 95, 99, 06, 07, 08, 20.

2022-23 Record: 13-12-1

Top Returners: Oliver Duininck Sr./F (19-21-40), Grant Matushak Jr./F (3-9-12), Chas Sabre Sr./D (0-11-11), Landon Bell So./F (5-5-10), Joe Erickson So./F (4-6-10), Grady Rannow Sr./G (4-1-0/3.52/.879).

Season Outlook: The Bears bring back Oliver Duininck, who was third on the team with 40 points as a Junior. They may have to rely on some newcomers or depth scorers from a season ago to fill the void their top two scorers left. 

Jackson Nevers (left) leads a strong group of Hornets who will look to not just compete for a section title, but a state title run. The Hornets return a strong roster as they head into the 2023-24 campaign, led by Nevers who last season had 40 points in 28 games and is committed to the University of Minnesota. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS MEDIA

Edina Hornets 

Coach: Curt Giles

State Tournaments: 1955, 56, 57, 60, 62, 67, 68, 69 (champs), 70, 71 (champs), 73, 74 (champs), 77, 78 (champs), 79 (champs), 81, 82 (champs), 83, 84 (champs), 87, 88 (champs), 89, 95, 96, 97 (champs), 98, 00, 07, 08, 09, 10 (champs), 11, 12, 13 (champs), 14 (champs), 15, 18, 19 (champs), 22, 23.

2022-23 Record: 22-7-1

Top Returners: Jackson Nevers Sr./F (20-20-40), Bobby Cowan Sr./F (17-21-38), Michael Risteau Sr./F (17-16-33), Mason West So./F (9-18-27), Ryan Flaherty Sr./F (11-14-25), Joe Bertram Sr./G (2-0-0/1.50/.930).

Season Outlook: The Hornets made their way to the state championship game once again, before coming up just short to rival Minnetonka. The good news is, they have their top four scoring leaders back with Jackson Nevers, Bobby Cowan, Michael Risteau, and Mason West. The Hornets did graduate their starting goalie, but Joe Bertram had a couple games under his belt, so there will be experience in the crease. 

Holy Angels Stars 

Coach: Pat Griswold

State Tournaments: 1999, 02 (champs), 03, 04, 05 (champs).

2022-23 Record: 19-7-1

Top Returners: Henry Lechner Jr./F (31-44-75), Cole Cheeseman So./F (20-28-48), Gabe Perron So./D (4-38-42) Lincoln Ayers Assad So./F (13-16-29), Connor Hanley Jr./D (3-13-16), Mason Garcia Sr./F (6-3-9) Luke Marsalek Jr./G (18-7-0/2.66/.900).

Season Outlook: The Stars retain a great amount of important playmakers, including their leading scorer Henry Lechner who led the team with over 70. Points. They also bring back their starting goalie who sporting a .900 save percentage. 

Hopkins Royals 

Coach: Dylan Talkovic 

State Tournaments: 1975, 80.

2022-23 Record: 8-18-0

Top Returners: Weston Schenkelberg Jr./F (6-13-19), Malaki Berry Sr./F (10-7-17), Brady Landschoot Sr./D (7-9-16), Suede Milless Sr./D (5-9-14), Greyson Hatlestad Jr./F (0-5-5), Carson Hauger Jr./G (5-13-0/3.23/.907).

Season Outlook: The Royals bring back their top four scorers from 2022-23, along with their top defensive duo with Brady Landschoot and Suede Milless. Carson Hauger comes back in net for the Royals after sporting over a .900 save percentage in 2022-23.

Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper                       Wings 

Coach: Danny Charleston

State Tournaments: N/A

2022-23 Record: 10-14-2

Top Returners: Jameson Essen Sr./F (19-22-41), Tanner Rausch Sr./F (19-17-36), Charlie Georgen Sr./F (14-21-35), Dane Yeager Sr./F (7-15-22), Lewis Majkozak So./F (5-13-18), Ben Smith Jr./G (2-1-0/3.60/.868).

Season Outlook: The Wings enter 2023-24 with a good returning cast, starting with their previous top four scorers, including Jameson Essen who had over 40 points. Ben Smith will see more time in the crease after their starter graduated, he saw a few games last season so he will have starting experience.

St. Louis Park Orioles 

Coach: Tyler Brodersen

State Tournaments: 1948, 49, 53, 58, 98, 03.

2022-23 Record: 12-13-1

Top Returners: Griffin Krone Sr./F (19-23-42), Max Rider Jr./F (14-9-23), Samuel Fuller Sr./F (8-15-23), Henry Schultz Sr./D (2-13-15), Trey Janssen Jr./F (5-3-8), Josh Middleton Sr./G (11-13-1/ 2.85/.899).

Season Outlook: The Orioles bring back their leading scorer Griffin Krone, who led the team scoring over 40 points. They will have to rely on some newcomers and returners to step up to fill the void some top scorers left behind. They will have great experience in net with the Middleton’s in net, Josh was the starter last season while Brett backed him up. 

Wayzata Trojans 

Coach: Pat O’Leary 

State Tournaments: 1954, 04, 13, 16 (champs), 17.

2022-23 Record: 19-7-2

Top Returners: Rhys Wallin Sr./F (13-22-35), Jake Mattson Sr./F (13-21-34), Cade De St. Hubert Sr./F (14-16-30), Brittan Alstrad Sr./F (7-22-29), Luke Miller Sr./F (8-18-26). 

Season Outlook: The Trojans will retain four of the five top scorers from 2022-23, but graduated their leading scorer and both of their goalies from last season. They will have to rely on some newcomers both on offense and in the net, as well the top returning scorers to help generate scoring.  

Section 7AA

Andover Huskies

Coach: Mark Manney 

State Tournaments: 2020, 21, 22 (champs), 23

2022-23 Record: 23-7-1

Top Returners: Ben Doll Sr./F (8-14-22), Brooks Cogswell Sr./F/D (3-16-19), KJ Sauer So./F (7-7-14), Landon Stringfellow Sr./D (5-8-13), Luke Babineau Jr./F (5-7-12), Cal Conway Jr./G (7-3-0/1.79/.919).

Season Outlook: The Huskies will have some big shoes to fill, losing their top four scorers from last year, including a near 100 point scorer. They will have a experienced squad although, bringing back players like Ben Doll who was the fifth leading scorer in 2022-23. 

Anoka Tornadoes

Coach: Ted Mitshulis

State Tournaments: 1985, 90, 97, 98, 03 (champs), 16.

2022-23 Record: 4-21-0

Top Returners: Trevor Lang Sr./F (6-9-15), Madden Soukoup Jr./F (6-3-9), Jackson Provoncha Sr./D (0-3-3), Hunter Brunner Jr./F (1-1-2), Mason Beaver Sr./D (0-2-2), Lauren Lafferty Jr./G (4-9-0/4.56/.875).

Season Outlook: The Tornadoes will be going through a rebuilding season, and will be very young after losing a big chunk of their 2022-23 roster. They’re going to bet set at goalie although, with Lauren Lafferty and Collin Rosenau who both got plenty of time in net last year. 

Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets

Coach: Jarad Ziebarth 

State Tournaments: 1992

2022-23 Record: 17-10-0

Top Returners: Seth Terhell Sr./F (225-22-47), Sean Brown Jr./F (6-17-23), Josh Sauro Jr./F (12-11-23), Caleb Wisen Jr./F (7-6-13), Seth Splittstoser Jr./D (3-8-11), Jaxon Sibell Jr./G (11-9-0/2.90/.898).

Season Outlook: The Bluejackets return their leading scorer Seth Terhell who led the team in goals and points in 2022-23. They will also return their goalie Jaxon Sibell who posted a goals against average under three. 

Duluth Denfeld Hunters 

Coach: Dale Jago

State Tournaments: 1954, 86, 88, 89, 96.

2022-23 Record: 14-12-1

Top Returners: John Scott Jr./F (14-9-23), Arttu Mollberg Sr./F (5-17-22), Braeden Erickson Sr./D (3-15-18), Brady McGinn Sr./D (1-15-16), Nolan Harju Jr./F (3-10-13), Connor Doyle Sr./G (10-8-1/ 3.58/.892).

Season Outlook: The Hunter’s bring back three of the top five scorers from last seasons team, including the top returning scorer John Scott, who had over 20 points last season. They will also have their starting goalie back for his senior season after winning 10 games last year. 

Duluth East Greyhounds 

Coach: Steve Pitoscia 

State Tournaments: 1958, 60 (champs), 61, 64, 75, 91, 94, 95 (champs), 96, 97, 98 (champs), 00, 03, 04, 05, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19.

2022-23 Record: 20-7-1

Top Returners: Thomas Gunderson Sr./F (22-29-51), Wyatt Peterson Sr./F (11-27-38), Noah Teng Sr./F (8-15-23), Caden Cole Jr./F (14-7-21), Ian Christian Jr./F (6-9-15), Drew Raukar Sr./G (8-0-0/1.29/.930).

Season Outlook: The Greyhounds bring back both their goalies from last year Kole Kronstedt and Drew Raukar who both got a good amount of playing time. They will also have Thomas Gunderson and Wyatt Peterson who were second and third in scoring last year, so although they lost a good amount of seniors, they will have solid returning cast for 2023-24. 

Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers  

Coach: Shawn Bartlette 

State Tournaments: 2001, 05, 06, 07, 08, 12, 13.

2022-23 Record: 9-18-0

Top Returners: Jonas Martinelli Sr./F (8-13-21), Ethan Lindgren Sr./D (7-11-18), Henry Drevnick Jr./F (12-5-17), Mason Musel Sr./F (5-6-11), Braydon Hannula Fr./F (3-5-8), Sam Pollard Sr./G (6-12-0/4.00/.901).

Season Outlook: The Hilltoppers bring back a lot of their depth scorers from 2022-23, but did graduate three of their top five scorers. Jonas Martinelli comes back for his senior season after being third on the team in scoring. 

Forest Lake Rangers 

Coach: Jay Ekman

State Tournaments: N/A 

2022-23 Record: 8-17-1

Top Returners: Caden Speidel Sr./F (9-16-25), Malachi McKinnon Jr./F (8-10-18), Riley Middendorf Sr./D (4-14-18), Cole Rivard Jr./F (9-8-17), Lucas Kiel Jr./D (5-5-10), Andrew Saxe Sr./G (5-15-1/ 3.52/.905).

Season Outlook: The Rangers bring back their top four scorers from last season, including Caden Speidel, who led the team in assist and points. They will have a couple of voids on offense, so newcomers may have to step in and find some scoring. 

Grand Rapids Thunderhawks

Coach: Grant Clafton

State Tournaments: 1972, 74, 75 (champs), 76 (champs), 77, 78, 80 (champs), 81, 88, 90, 91, 06, 07, 16, 17 (champs).

2022-23 Record: 13-13-1

Top Returners: Bauer Murphy Sr./D (6-13-19), Luka Rohloff Jr./D (4-14-18), Jacob Garski Sr./F (6-6-12), Gavin Forrest Sr./F (5-6-11), Kyler Miller Sr./F (6-5-11), Ryan Kerr Jr./G (1-1-0/4.31/.839). 

Season Outlook: The Thunderhawks will be a much more experienced team in 2023-24 bringing back multiple newly seniors, but they did graduate a few top scorers, so they may have to rely on the depth scorers to step up for Grand Rapids. 

Northern Edge 

Coach: Mark Hetland

State Tournaments: 2019 

2022-23 Record: 2-22-1

Top Returners: Zachary Manson Sr./F (5-2-7), Lavonte Fischer Sr./F (2-4-6), Milo Hetland Jr./F (1-1-2), Tyson Anderson Sr./D (1-1-2), Tyler Pearson Sr./F (1-1-2), Riley Pickell Sr./G (1-13-1/ 7.28/.809).

Season Outlook: Northern Edge will have a rebuilding year, after graduating eight seniors in 2022-23 including their top three scorers, so they will have to rely on some more scoring from the newcomers and returning players. 

Rock Ridge Wolverines 

Coach: Ben Johnson 

State Tournaments: 1945 (champs), 46, 47, 48 (champs), 49 (champs), 50 (champs), 51 (champs), 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 60, 93 (champs), 98 (champs), 05, 09, 10. 

2022-23 Record: 18-9-1

Top Returners: Kasey Lamppa Sr./F (14-17-31), Sam Troutwine Sr./D (7-21-28), Brant Tiedeman Sr./F (17-7-24), Grady Dimberio Jr./F (7-12-19), Levin Flatley Jr./F (7-11-18), Ryan Rothfork Sr./G (12-5-1/1.81/.932). 

Season Outlook: The Wolverines bring back a good supporting cast from last season with three of their top five scorers from 2022-23. Kasey Lamppa is back for his senior season after scoring more than 30 points on the season. They will also have their starting goalie back, who started a good amount of games last year, sporting a great save percentage of .932, and goals against average of 1.81. 

Section 8AA

Bemidji Lumberjacks

Coach: Ben Kinne

State Tournaments: 1972, 73, 74, 76, 85, 86, 2015, 16.

2022-23 Record: 11-13-1

Top Returners: Noah Mannausau Jr./D (6-13-19), Dominic Arndt Jr./F (3-15-18), Benjamin O’Leary Jr./F (7-6-13) , Peyton Neadeau Sr./F (4-7-11), Austin Coe Sr./F (4-4-8), Tate Metcalf Jr./G (7-7-0/3.03/.884).

Season Outlook: The Lumberjacks will have a slightly more mature and experienced team this season. They did graduate their top goal scorer but they retain their top defenseman Noah Mannausau, who is a multi-year starter with the Lumberjacks, and a second leading scorer in 2022-23. 

Brainerd Warriors 

Coach: Jerr Johnson 

State Tournaments: N/A 

2022-23 Record: 11-13-3

Top Returners: Brody Johnson Sr./F (21-27-48), Kade Stengrim Jr./F (18-18-36), Dylan Wikoff Jr./D (6-11-17), Chad King Jr./D (3-12-15), Kalvin Stengrim Sr./F (5-10-15), Ryan Gerlich Sr./G (5-6-2/ 3.21/.910). 

Season Outlook: Brady Johnson is entering his senior season after leading the Warriors in goals and points with nearly 50. They did lose their top defenseman, but still have a great defensive duo in Dylan Wikoff and Chad King, both scored 15 points and over. They will also have their goalie back in Ryan Gerlich, who had a save percentage over .900 in 2022-23. 

Buffalo Bison

Coach: Aaron Johnson

State Tournaments: N/A

2022-23 Record: 13-11-2

Top Returners: Eli Tiernan Sr./F (7-7-14), Griffin Lind Sr./D (1-11-12), Juan Baxa Sr./F (1-0-1), Ethan Sladky Sr./F (0-1-1), AJ SMiglewski Sr./F (0-1-1), Max Varner Sr./G (13-11-2/ 2.68/.908),

Season Outlook: The Bison will have a nearly complete rebuild of their roster this season after retaining only five skaters from last seasons, they will have to rely on the newcomers to help with scoring. They do however have their starting goalie back who held a save percentage over .900.

Elk River/Zimmerman Elks

Coach: Ben Gustafson

State Tournaments: 1993, 99, 01 (champs), 02, 04, 05.

2022-23 Record: 11-16-0

Top Returners: Braden Hansberger Sr./F (7-24-31), Kole Mears Sr./F (19-11-30), Preston Holmes Sr./F (13-9-22), Cooper Anderson Sr./D (6-15-21), Gavin Sperling Jr./F (6-9-15), Sam Stockman Sr./G (7-8-0/3.86/.888).

Season Outlook: The Elks bring back all five of their top five scorers in 2022-23, starting with the leading scorer Braden Hansberger who had over 30 points as a Junior last season. They also bring back both of their goalies who got time in net last season, Sam Stockman and Gavin Greniuk both got a lot of time starting in 2022-23, so there is great experience all around the roster. 

Moorhead Spuds

Coach: Jon Ammerman

State Tournaments: 1992, 93, 94, 95, 97, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 09, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

2022-23 Record: 19-11-0

Top Returners: Mason Kraft Jr./F (7-31-38), Parker Gast Sr./F (8-7-15), Brooks Cullen Jr./F (2-7-9), Joey Simonich Sr./F (2-5-7), Kai Weigel Sr./G (0-5-5), Kai Weigel Sr./G (19-11-0/2.03/.930).

Season Outlook: The Spuds bring back their star goalie Kai Weigel, who had a stellar 2022-23 season winning 19 games, and sporting a save percentage of .930. Moorhead will have to rely on some newcomers up front after losing most of their top scorers from last year, but they still have Mason Kraft who scored nearly 40 goals. 

Roseau Rams

Coach: Greg Lund 

State Tournaments: 1946 (champs), 47, 53, 55, 57, 58 (champs), 59 (champs), 61 (champs), 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 83, 84, 90 (champs), 91, 98, 99 (champs), 00, 06, 07 (champs), 08, 10, 14.

2022-23 Record: 17-10-1

Top Returners: Noah Urness Sr./F (45-41-86.), Gavin Jensen Sr./F (13-39-52), Jake Halvorson Jr./F (16-24-40), Jake Kvien Sr./D (1-18-19), Alex Ballard Sr./D (5-13-18), Atreyu Jones Sr./G (11-5-1/ 2.78/.893). 

Season Outlook: The Rams bring back a good group from 2022-23, including Noah Urness who scored nearly 90 points which is amongst the states elite. Gavin Jensen will also be back for his senior season after scoring over 50 points for the Rams. 

Sartell Sabres 

Coach: Ryan Hacker 

State Tournaments: N/A

2022-23 Record: 17-7-3

Top Returners: Baylor Stebbins Sr./F (20-22-42), Anthony Colatrella Sr./F (16-20-36), Kyan Rieder Sr./F (8-13-21), Carter Bollinger Sr./D (2-10-12), Gavin Welsh Sr./F (4-4-8), Noah Hacker Sr./G (17-7-3/ 2.64/.920).

Season Outlook: The Sabres bring back their top scorer Baylor Stebbins who had over 40 points in 2022-23, along with Anthony Colatrella who was third on the team in scoring. They will have a good group of experienced hockey players up and down the roster, and even in net. Noah Hacker had a great season last year, sporting a save percentage of .920.

St. Cloud Crush 

Coach: Pete Matanich

State Tournaments: 1945, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 84, 13, 15.

2022-23 Record: 9-14-2

Top Returners: Nick Bierschbach Jr./D (7-7-14), Reece Gronseth Sr./D (1-11-12), Landon Austin Sr./D (3-4-7), Max Kiffmeyer Jr./F (2-4-6), Jackson Sheets Jr./F (4-1-5), Ben Glaesman Sr./G (6-12-2/ 3.02/.900).

Season Outlook: The Crush will have a small rebuilding team this year, but they still have a good amount of returning players, including their goalie Ben Glaesman who had a .900 save percentage last season. 

St. Michael-Albertville Knights

Coach: Jake Hindermann

State Tournaments: 2018

2022-23 Record: 5-19-2

Top Returners: Caleb Waller Sr./F (13-24-37), Blake Couet Jr./D (1-12-13), Reme Lobitz Sr./F (5-8-13), Jack Johnson Jr./D (2-4-6), Alex Hernandez Jr./F (0-2-2), Owen Westerman Sr./G (4-11-1/5.20/.882). 

Season Outlook: The Knights will have to rely on some newcomers to fill the void some top scorers left. They will return Caleb Waller, who had nearly 40 points as a Junior, and they’ll have experience in the net with Owen Weusterman and Noah Sutlief coming back for their senior seasons.