It’s the usual suspects atop the girls Class AA Let’s Play Hockey Coaches Poll.
The No. 1 team in our pre-season coaches poll will take the ice tonight as the girls’ high school hockey season gets underway with a slate of 16 games.
Minnetonka, who finished fourth last season in Class AA, comes into the 2023-24 season as the top-ranked squad, receiving one more first-place vote than No. 2 Andover.
The Skippers return a solid group of players from last year’s state tournament squad, including Division I commits Kendra Distad (Minnesota), Lindzi Avar (Cornell) and Lauren Goldsworthy (MSU-Mankato).
Andover finished a close second in the poll after finishing a close second in the state last season. While they lose Ms. Hockey winner Ella Boerger and All-State forward and University of Minnesota commit Isa Goettl among others, they are a program that reloads and will have the likes of Cailin Mumm (St. Thomas), Nora Sauer (St. Thomas) and Maya Engler (19G-21A-40PTS) returning.
Edina, of course, is always in the mix, and Gentry Academy is last year’s state championship winner. Hill-Murray brings back one of the state’s top scorers in Chloe Boreen and talented goaltender Grace Zahn and Stillwater will be strong with 11 seniors led by top returning scorer Josie St. Martin.
The rankings will surely play out like musical chairs, especially early on. But this is a start to what hopes to be another memorable and entertaining year of girls high school hockey.
Compiled Nov. 9, 2023
- Gentry Academy
- Benilde-St. Margaret’s
- Maple Grove
- Lakeville North
- Centennial/Spring Lake Park
- Holy Family Catholic
- Grand Rapids/Greenway
- Lakeville South
- White Bear Lake
- Cretin-Derham Hall
- Apple Valley
Other Teams Receiving Votes: North Wright County, Wayzata, Shakopee, Rogers, Eagan, Roseville/Mahtomedi, Eden Prairie, Brainerd/Little Falls, Farmington, East Ridge, Champlin Park/Coon Rapids, Bemidji.
Two-time defending champion Warroad isn’t necessarily rebuilding, they’re reloading, but they did lose a lot of talent off last year’s team that won back-to-back state titles.
Moving into the front spot is Orono, who finished second to Warroad last season losing 3-1 in the finals. Orono brings back their top nine scorers from last season, including top scorer and Minnesota State-Mankato recruit Zoe Lopez.
Proctor/Hermantown sneaks into the No. 2 spot ahead of Warroad, giving the northern part of the state solid representation as always. The Mirage return a balanced scoring attack and both goaltenders who split time last season.
Warroad will surely contend for their third consecutive crown and Academy of Holy Angels and South St. Paul round out the top 5.
Of course, it’s early and the stories have yet to be told about this year’s teams who will rise to the top when it matters most. One thing is for certain, they all have their eyes set on being at the X next February, vying for the coveted state tournament and the ever-elusive state title.
- Academy of Holy Angels
- South St. Paul
- Duluth Marshall
- Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian
- Chisago Lakes
- Fergus Falls
- Dodge County
- River Lakes
- Albert Lea
- Mankato East
- Moose Lake
- New Ulm
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Willmar, Two Rivers/St. Paul, Minneapolis, Breck, Rock Ridge, Marshall, Delano/Rockford