Mahtomedi won their second title in four seasons last March with an overtime win over Warroad. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN

Will one of the dominant Class A programs reign supreme once again?

The Class A field is full of the usual suspects. For the past several seasons, the top 5 teams could pretty much be picked at the beginning of the year, and those same five teams usually ended up in or near the top five at the end of the year.

While Class AA seems to have more parity, Class A has more of a ruling class of programs that include Hermantown, Warroad, East Grand Forks, and Mahtomedi. You can toss in the likes of Orono and St. Cloud Cathedral as perennial powers, but those first four are the usual suspects who seem to reign supreme year in and year out.

Last year it was Mahtomedi’s turn as they lifted the trophy for the second time in four seasons. Sandwiched in between their wins was Gentry Academy, who moved up to AA, and Hermantown, who everyone thinks should move up to AA.

Before that, St. Cloud Cathedral, ranked fifth in this year’s preseason poll, won it in 2019, and Orono, ranked seventh in this year’s poll, won in 2018. Before that St. Thomas Academy went on an epic run, but now compete for a AA title.

The surprise may be Warroad, who hasn’t won a title since 2005 despite always being in the conversation. They were poised to bring one home last March entering the title game undefeated, but Mahtomedi shocked them in a 6-5 overtime win.

The Warriors lost their Mr. Hockey and Frank Brimsek winners, but they do bring back last year’s top-scoring junior in Carson Pilgrim. Perhaps there is a little taste left on the tongues of Warroad players after getting so close a year ago.

Chances are it will be one of the top teams mentioned above that will be vying for the coveted title, and it could also be a year where another program emerges and goes on a historic run. 

Wouldn’t that be fun to see?

Either way, there is little doubt we will be treated to some fantastic hockey amongst the Class A teams.

BOYS CLASS A PRE-SEASON RANKINGS

TEAM2022-23 WIN-LOSS-TIE
01. Hermantown27-3-1
02. East Grand Forks16-12-0
03. Warroad29-1-0
04. Mahtomedi23-8-0
05. St. Cloud Cathedral18-13-0
06. Northfield23-7-0
07. Orono24-7-0
08. Alexandria15-14-1
09. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton15-9-1
10. Hibbing/Chisholm16-9-1
11. Thief River Falls10-16-1
12. Delano15-13-0
13. Northern Lakes12-15-0
14. Minneapolis16-9-2
15. Monticello16-10-1
16. Little Falls18-9-1
17. Detroit Lakes17-8-1
18. Luverne21-8-1
19. Providence Academy14-12-0
20. Fergus Falls14-11-0

OTHER TEAMS RECEIVING VOTES:

New Ulm, Proctor, Soutwest Christian/Richfield, Chisago Lakes, Dodge County.

Here is a look at those teams, broken down section-by-section:

Section 1A

Albert Lea Tigers

Coach: Matt Erickson

State Tournaments: 2004, ’05, ’07 

2022-23 Record: 19-7-1

Top Returners: Eli Farris Sr./F (14-11-25), Connor Pirsig Jr./F (11-10-21), Spencer Vanbeek Sr./F (6-7-13), Sam Stay Jr./F, (1-4-5), Logan Olsen Sr./F (3-2-5), Bryant Johnston Jr./D 0-4-4, Derrek Laite Sr./D 2-1-3, Drew Carlson Sr./F 0-1-1, Carson Severtson Sr./D 0-1-1, Erik Stieler Sr./F (0-1-1), Ledger Stadheim Jr./G (6-1-0/3.46/.872)

Season Outlook: The Tigers have a good cast of returning players, including Eli Farris, who had 14 goals a season ago. They also bring experience in the net, with Ledger Stadheim coming back for his junior season. 

Austin Packers

Coach: Troy Schaefer

State Tournaments: 1993, 2001

2022-23 Record: 4-20-1

Top Returners: Gahvin Schaefer Jr./F (11-10-21), Grady Carney Jr./F 9-6-15, Gavin Brekke Jr./F (4-4-8) Matthew Phanchan Jr./F (3-1-4), Bradley Lagerstedt Sr./D (0-3-3), Isaiah Hemann Jr./F (1-1-2), Garrett Grabau Sr./F (0-2-2), Wyatt Hamlin Jr./D (1-0-1), Daran Plunkett Jr./G (0-6-0/6.64/.858) 

Season Outlook: Gahvin Schaefer returns after leading the Packers in points in 2022-23, he will enter his junior season. Austin will have to rely on some younger players to play more minutes, including Junior goalie Daran Plunkett. 

Dodge County Wildcats

Coach: Andrew Wilcox, Bryce Wilcox

State Tournaments:  2021

2022-23 Record:  16-10-0

Top Returners: Brett Ludvigsen Jr./F (22-30-52), Gryffon Funke Sr./F (31-18-49), Dylan Klomps Jr./F (12-14-26), Jeremiah Peterson-Gordon Soph./F (5,7,12), Bronson Freerksen Sr./D (2-10-12), Caeden Smith Sr./D (3-9-12), Gideon Ellinghysen Sr./F (3-7-10), Fischer Paulson Sr./F (4-6-10), Griffin Gibbs Jr./D (1-5-6), Ethan Hearn Sr./F (2-1-3), Mitchell Homan Jr./F (0-2-2), Jackson Roethler Sr./G (0-1-1), Collin Beliveau Soph./F (0-1-1), Aidan Beckstrom Sr./F (0-1-1), Aidan Nelson Sr./D (0-1-1), Isaac Nelson Sr./F (0-1-1), Jackson Roethler Sr./G (12-10-0/3.51/.895), Corbin Krueger Sr./G (4-0-0/3.00/.891)

Season Outlook: The Wildcats enter 2023-24 after a good prior season, and they have a plethora of players coming back. This will be a experienced squad this season after players have been with each other for multiple years. Brett Ludvigsen enters his Junior year after leading the Wildcats in points as a Sophomore.   

Faribault Falcons

Coach: Dan Pumper

State Tournaments:  1993

2022-23 Record:  12-14-0

Top Returners: Oliver Linnemann Sr./F (12-28-40), Logan Peroutka Sr./F (10-16-26), Tommy Kunze Soph./F (12-10-22), Brody Redding Sr./F (10-4-14), Beau Velishek Sr./F (1-9-10), Ethan Amundson Sr./F (6-3-9), Nick Archambault J./F (4-4-8), Owen Amelkovich Sr./F (5-1-6), Parker Morrow Sr./D (0-6-6), Caden Hart Sr./D (1-4-5), RJ Wasilowski Soph./F (1-1-2), Logan Vargo Soph./F (0-1-1), Cole Goodwin J./F/D (0-1-1), Ben Stoessel Sr./D (0-1-1), Dustin Boyd J./G (3-3-0/3.47/.864)

Season Outlook: The Falcons will have a good mix of young and veteran players, one player with a lot of experience is Oliver Linnemann, who led the team in points last season with 40. On the other hand, they will have a goalie who saw just six games last year, but having that experience should prove beneficial. 

La Crescent-Hokah Lancers

Coach: Eriah Hayes

State Tournaments:  0

2022-23 Record:  18-8-0

Top Returners:  Wyatt Farrell Sr./F (52-20-72), Ethan Myhre Jr./F (10-18-28), Mitchell Reining Jr/F (16-12-28), Colton Holzer Sr./F (5-17-22), Alex Von Arx Jr./F (8-12-20), Alex Donovan Sr./D (3-2-5), Cody Hogen Sr./F (2-1-3), Cooper Johnson Sr./D (1-2-3), Cooper Hill Soph./F (1-0-1), Andrew Vessey Sr./D (1-0-1), Collin Morken Sr./G (10-6-0/2.46/.882)

Season Outlook: Wyatt Farrell returns after scoring 72 points and leading the Lancers as a Junior. They will have to rely on him and other returning players to help fill the shoes of the 2023 graduates. 

Northfield Raiders

Coach: Mike Luckraft

State Tournaments:  2017, ’23 

2022-23 Record:  23-7-0

Top Returners:  Kamden Kaiser Sr./F (40-26-66), Jake Geiger Sr./F (25-33-58), Will Cashin Jr./F (13-29-42), Ty Frank Sr./D (4-27-31), Andrew Winter Sr./F (15-14-29), Bridger Riley Soph./D (1-18-19), Griffin Kennelly Jr./F (4-6-10), Elliott Pontow Sr./D (0-7-7), Barrett Bradley Sr./F (2-3-5), Max Frank Jr./G (0-1-0/5.00/.615

Season Outlook: The Raiders head into the 2023-24 after making their second ever state tournament appearance, and even better, they bring back their leading scorer, Kamden Kaiser. Kaiser, scored 40 goals in 2022-23, leading his team and being amongst the states elite. 

Red Wing Wingers

Coach: Tony Casci

State Tournaments:  1995, ’96, ’97 champs, ’98, ’99, 2002

2022-23 Record:  1-21-4

Top Returners:  Nicholas Wooden Sr./D (6-6-12), Charlie Peterson Jr./F (6-5-11), Ethan Anderson Soph./F (5-5-10), Landin Ramsted Sr./F (6-3-9), Carson Frank Jr./F (3-2-5), John Butenhoff Jr./D (1-2-3), Tanner Jarmuz Jr./D (0-2-2), Ellis Petersmeyer Sr./G (1-20-4/6.43/.871), Ben Flaaen Soph./G (0-1-0/6.71/.853)

Season Outlook: The Wingers will be a more experience team in 2023-24, after being a young team last year. They bring back a couple of goalies who saw a lot of action last year, especially Ellis Petersmeyer, who saw plenty of shots a season ago.  

Rochester Lourdes Eagles

Coach: Jeff True

State Tournaments:  2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ‘13

2022-23 Record:  10-17-0

Top Returners:  Peyton Loeslie Sr./F (14-18-32), AJ Ritter Sr./F (11-10-21), Colton Rich Jr./F (14-4-18), Vinny Harens So./D (3-7-10), Jack Roe Jr./F (4-3-7), Xander Carter-Kleven Jr./G (10-17-0/3.93/.897).

Season Outlook: The Eagles bring back a good amount of their roster from last year, including their leading scorer, Peyton Loeslie, who led the team in assist and points. They will also have their goalie back, who started 27 games in 2022-23. 

Waseca Bluejays

Coach: Chris Storey

State Tournaments:  0

2022-23 Record:  10-15-0

Top Returners:Hunter Anderson Jr./D (7-11-18), Brayden Hesch-Priem Jr./F (10-6-16), Lucas Groll Jr./D (6-8-14), Keaton Roeker Sr./F (4-4-8), Preston Miller Sr./D (1-5-6), Carter Martens Jr./G (5-11-0/4.79/.889).

Season Outlook: The Bluejays will have to rely on their top returning forwards to help fill the void that losing their top forward duo left behind. They will have their top defensive pair back with Hunter Anderson, who had nearly 20 points, and Lucas Groll who also had just about 15 points. 

Winona Cotter Winhawks

Coach: Martin Raymond

State Tournaments:  1952

2022-23 Record:  10-14-2

Top Returners:Teis Larsen Sr./F (33-32-65), Aven Prodzinski Jr./D (15-16-31), John Vail Sr./F (7-4-11), Chase Rumpca Sr./D (3-4-7), Mason Wadewitz Sr./F (3-4-7), Michael Dubek Sr./G (3.01/.916).

Season Outlook: The Winhawks bring back a good amount of players from last season, including their top scorer Teis Larsen who had over 60 points in 2022-23. They will also bring back their goalie, who was very good last season, who posted a save percentage over .900.

Section 2A

Breck Mustangs

Coach: Dave Maley

State Tournaments:  1994, ’96, ’97, 2000 Champs, ’10 Champs, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’15, ’16 

2022-23 Record:  7-18-1

Top Returners: Nate Miller Sr./F (11-10-21), Ben Amato Jr. (9-7-16), Paddy Greene Sr./F (5-9-14), Zach Huotari Sr./D (2-7-9), Erik Nordseth Sr./F (6-3-9), Charlie Zurkowski Jr./G (0-2-0/3.92/ .877).

Season Outlook: The Mustangs bring back their top scorer Nate Miller for his senior season. They will have to rely on Charlie Zurkowski as the only goalie on the roster with more than one game of experience.

 

Delano Tigers

Coach:  Gerrit van Bergen

State Tournaments:  2017, ’19, ’20, ’21 

2022-23 Record:  15-13-0

Top Returners: Teague Collings Sr./F (14-16-30), Mason Hargarten Jr./F (7-10-17), Bryce Peterson Jr./F (4-9-13), Aaron Halonen Jr./D (3-7-10), Brayden Coppin Sr./D (2-3-5), Ethan Engelmann Sr./G (3-4-0/3.86/.849). 

Season Outlook: The Tigers will have a very young team, graduating 11 seniors in 2023. Teague Collings will be coming back, and after scoring 30 points last season, the Tigers may rely on him and his fellow veterans to make another step. 

Hutchinson Tigers

Coach:  Matt Tecky

State Tournaments:  1995, ’97, 2000, ’09, ’20 

2022-23 Record:  12-15-0

Top Returners: Manny Pearce Jr./F (14-15-29), Emmett Reiter Jr./F (12-15-27), Toren Miller Jr./D (4-13-17), Easton Mallak Jr./F (9-4-13), Charlie Renner Sr./F (2-6-8), Lukas Heilmann Jr./G (4-6-0/3.20/.880).

Season Outlook: Hutchinson will return their top two scorers from last season, Manny Pearce and Emmett Reiter, these two put up over 25 points as sophomores for the Tigers. They will have to fill the void in between the pipes, but they have to goalies who got playing time last seasons so there is experience. 

Litchfield/D-C Dragons

Coach:  Brice Berggren

State Tournaments:  1996, 2008, ’16, ’18, ’21 

2022-23 Record:  16-9-2

Top Returners: Carson Drummond Jr./F (6-4-10), Kasey Melquist Jr./F (2-7-9), Spencer Niemela Jr./F (1-3-4), Jason Haataja Sr./D (0-4-4), Ayden Cziok Sr./F (1-0-1), Ayden Cziok Sr./G (1-0-0/2.00/2.00/.913).

Season Outlook: The Dragons will have to rely on their upperclassman this season after a big roster change-up. They will be without their top five scores from last year, but do have Carson Drummond who had double-digit points as a sophomore in 2022-23.

Brock Schultz and East Grand Forks enter the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason coaches poll. PHOTO BY CALVIN SEIGLER/BREAKDOWN SPORTS MEDIA

Minneapolis Hockey

Coach:  Joe Dziedzic

State Tournaments:  1959, ’60, ’64 (as Henry), 1951, ’52, ’53, ’55, ’65, ’68, ’69, ’70 Champs, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’75, ’76, ’77, ’80 (as Southwest), 1948, ’49, ’59, ’60, ’62, ’79 (as Washburn), 1946, ’47 (as West), 1994 (as Edison), 1956, ’58, ’61, ’63, ’66, ’67, ’74, ’78, ’92 (as Roosevelt), 1950, ’54, ’55, ’57, ’93 (as South), 2022

2022-23 Record:  16-9-2

Top Returners:  Ozzie Snodgrass Sr./F (16-28-44), John Bebler Sr./F (8-26-34), Nick Anderson Jr./F (10-18-28), Hank Davis Sr./F (10-15-25), Ronan Davis Sr./F (7-10-17), Mike Shroat Sr./G (13-5-1/ 1.95/.909).

Season Outlook: Minneapolis is returning a good majority of their roster from 2022-23, including three of their top five scorers from last year. They also will have their starting net minder, Mike Schroat, who had a great GAA under two, and a save percentage over .900.

Mound Westonka White Hawks

Coach:  Jeff Degree

State Tournaments:  1998, 2001

2022-23 Record:  4-22-0

Top Returners: Austin Novack Jr./F (7-8-15), Jackson Henningsgaard Sr./F (3-10-13), Jonathan Scherven Sr./D (3-5-8), Blake Decker Jr./F (7-0-7), Collin Hagen So./F (3-1-4), Jack Hansberger Sr./G (0-8-0/5.81/.841).

Season Outlook: The White Hawks will have some seniors and juniors on the roster they may have to rely on this year, including August Novack, who led the team in points. 

Orono Spartans

Coach:  Sean Fish

State Tournaments:  1992, ’93, 2002, ’03, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’14, ’18 Champs, 23

2022-23 Record:  24-7-0

Top Returners: Joey Mugaas Sr./D (3-30-33), Cayden Effertz Sr./F (15-16-31), John Engebretson Sr./D (5-23-28), Easton Sankey Sr./F (9-15-24), Brooks Fegers Sr./F (10-8-18), Peyton Anderson Sr./G (0-0-0/3.00/.889).

Season Outlook: The Spartans will have a much different looking roster this season after graduating their top two scorers and two goalies who started last season. They will have their third scoring leader Joey Mugaas who was the top scoring defenseman on the Spartans.  

Providence Academy Lions

Coach:  Chris Lewis

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  14-12-0

Top Returners: Louie Wehmann Sr./F (44-37-81), Sammy Lewis Sr./F (15-20-35), Jesse Varner Jr./D (3-17-20), Brandon Sattler Sr./F (8-4-12), Nick Damberg Sr./D (2-5-7), Owen Villagomez So./G (1-0-0/3.44/.857).

Season Outlook: The Lions bring back their star forward, Louie Wehmann, who scored 81 points last season as a Junior, they will also have their top defenseman Jesse Varner back who scored 20 points in 2022-23 

Section 3A

Fairmont Cardinals

Coach:  Dylan Vanbrocklin

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  8-19-0

Top Returners: Nate Rakness Sr./F (20-13-33), Luka Kester Jr./F (15-12-27), Teveldal Jace Fr./F (11-10-21), Hartley Aust Sr./F (6-10-16), Beau Becker Sr./D (5-6-11), Carson Johnson Sr./G (8-19-0/5.91/.845). 

Season Outlook: The Cardinals will head into 2023-24 with a very similar roster to last seasons. They have four of five of their top scorers in 2022-23, Nate Rakness was the leading scorer as a junior with 33 points. 

Luverne Cardinals

Coach:  Phil Paquette

State Tournaments:  2014, ’17, ’23 

2022-23 Record:  21-8-1

Top Returners: Patrick Kroski Sr./F (21-47-68), Owen Sudenga Sr./F (18-33-51), Elliot Dornagala Sr./F (22-21-43), Blaik Bork Jr./F/D (10-28-38), Maddux Domagala So./F (12-10-22), Tyler Arends Sr./G (21-8-1/ 2.49/.904).

Season Outlook: The Cardinals has a great 2022-23 hockey season, advancing to their third state tournament appearance in program history. They will also retain their leading scorer Patrick Kroski, and their starting goalie Tyler Arends. 

Mankato East Cougars

Coach:  Adam Fries

State Tournaments:  2006, ’18, ’20, ‘22

2022-23 Record:  11-16-0

Top Returners: Christian Theuninck Sr./F (5-13-18), Luke lebens So./D (6-10-16), Rafe Bowman Sr./F (2-11-13), Aaron Kamm Sr./D (2-6-8), Caden Hansen Jr./F (4-2-6), Brody Kunst Jr./G (9-12-0/3.62/.865). 

Season Outlook: The Cougars lose their top three scorers from 2022-23, but do retain the third and fourth top scorers, Christian Theuninck, and Luke Lebens. They will also have experience in net with Brody Nunst.  

Mankato West

Coach:  Nate Olsen

State Tournaments:  2008, ’16 

2022-23 Record:  8-16-3

Top Returners: Jaeger Zimmerman Jr./F (14-20-34), Gage Schmidt Sr./F (14-10-24), Derek Stierlen Sr./D (3-13-16), Sean King Jr./D (2-8-10), Hunter Rigdon Sr./F (4-5-9), Mason Schreiber So./G (8-16-3/ 3.70/.869).

Season Outlook: Mankato West will have their top scorer Jaeger Zimmerman back as well as their starting goalie, Mason Schreiber. They will have a more experienced team this season, and should find success from their top players again.  

Marshall Tigers

Coach:  Michael Weiss

State Tournaments:  2013

2022-23 Record:  11-14-1

Top Returners: Talan Plante Sr./D (11-28-39), Owen Renslow Jr./F (14-20-34), Andrew Seanor Sr./F (11-10-21), Chase Mellenthin Sr./F (5-9-14), Tyler Welsh Jr./D (5-8-13), Gavin Welsh Sr./G (6-13-0/3.51/.860).

Season Outlook: The Tigers will have to rely on some to help fill the void left by some top forwards who graduated. They do have their top two scorers back, Talan Plante and Owen Renslow. They will also have one of two goalies who started last year in Gavin Welsh, who saw 19 games in 2022-23.

Minnesota River Bulldogs  

Coach: Chris Miller 

2022-23 Record: 12-14-0

Top Returners: Travis Kotek Sr./F (8-10-18), Kellen O’Keefe Sr./F (9-9-18), Drew Simonette Sr./F (8-6-14), Diego Hettig Sr./F (9-5-14), Braylon Hoffman Sr./F (6-6-12), Ayden Christ Sr./G (7-12-0/4.18/.859).

Season Outlook: The Bulldogs have four of their top five scorers from last year, Kotek, O’Keefe, Simonette, and Hettig. They will have a very similar roster to last season, so the experience should benefit the Bulldogs in 2023-24.  

New Ulm Eagles

Coach:  Ryan Newman

State Tournaments:  1992, 2010, ’11, ’12, ’15, ’19 

2022-23 Record:  23-4-1

Top Returners: Austin Uecker Sr./F (27-41-68), Kaden Larson Sr./F (22-18-40), Bryer Lang Sr./F (19-19-38), Ian Brudelie Jr./F (10-13-23), Brody Wenner Jr./D (1-8-9), Bryer Hoffmann Sr./G (20-4-1/ 1.81/.923). 

Season Outlook: The Eagles come off a great 2022-23 hockey season, winning 23 games, but they do graduate nine starters. The bright side is they have their top three scorers, including Austin Uecker, who scored nearly 70 points in his junior campaign. 

Red Wood Valley Cardinals

Coach:  Denny Spielman

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  0-22-0

Top Returners: Kilen Cilek Jr./F (5-6-11), Gavin Vanderwerf Jr./D (2-3-5), Kopek Johnson Jr./F/G (2-1-3), Easton Sandgren Jr./D (0-3-3), Erik Rasmussen So./F (1-1-2), Kooper Johnson Jr./G (0-1-0/7.00/.897).

Season Outlook: The Cardinals return a good amount of their team from last year, so there should be some more experience on the ice. They will however have a goalie who will get more time on ice with Kooper Johnson., who saw a very limited workload in 2022-23.

Windom Area Eagles

Coach:  Travis Janssen

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  11-15-0

Top Returners: Wriley Haugen Sr./F (19-19-38), Sonny Heil Sr./F (20-12-32), Nicholas Espenson Jr./F (10-7-17), Karson Lacanne Sr./F/D (4-9-13), Landon Pillatzki Jr./D (3-5-8), Adam Dahne Sr./G (6-13-0/3.76/.870). 

Season Outlook: The Eagles have a good group of returning players, starting with Wriley Haugen who led the team in points as a Junior. They’ll also have a good experienced duo in net with Adam Dahne and Grant Dronen who both saw a lot of game action in 2022-23.

Worthington Trojans

Coach:  Tyler Nienkerk

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  3-20-0

Top Returners: Easton Newman Sr./F (18-5-23), Spencer NIckel Jr./F (15-3-18), Caden Van Briesen Sr./F (5-4-9), Anthony Jimenez Jr./D (3-5-8), Ian Bumgardner Sr./D (1-7-8), Collin Ahlers Sr./G (3-20-0/7.70/.790).

Season Outlook: The Trojans will return almost every player from their 2022-23 roster, including their top scorers and starting goalie. Easton Newman will return after scoring 23 goals last season, leading the team.  

Section 4A

Bloomington Kennedy Eagles

Coach:  Brandon Tveitbakk

State Tournaments:  1990, ‘91

2022-23 Record:  3-23-0

Top Returners:  Nick Manning Sr./F (7-4-11), Mason Biermaier Jr./F (0-4-4), David Wurst Jr./F (3-1-4), Rocky Carlson Jr./D (1-2-3), Rohr Brockman Sr./G (2-14-0/4.87/.874).

Season Outlook: The Eagles are going to into the 2023-24 hockey season with a very different looking roster to 2022-23. They do have one of their top scorers Nick Manning back for his Senior season. 

Chisago Lakes Wildcats

Coach:  Cory Lushanko

State Tournaments:  1995, 2014

2022-23 Record:  16-11-1

Top Returners: Jack Bakken Sr./F (19-18-37), Andrew Swanson Sr./D (5-10-15), Griffen Perrault Sr./D (7-7-14), Ben Kerkow Jr./F (3-9-12), Dustin Palewicz Sr./D (1-10-11), Brett Hanson Jr./G (3-0-0/1.78/.769).  

Season Outlook: The Wildcats will rely on some forwards and defenders to step up and score some more this season. Jack Bakken is returning for his senior season after leading the team in scoring, ending the year with 37 points. 

Mahtomedi Zephyrs

Coach:  Jeff Poeschl

State Tournaments:  1992, ’94, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’09, ’20, ’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20 Champs, ’22, ’23 Champs

2022-23 Record:  23-8-0

Top Returners: Jake Hodd-Chlebeck Sr./F (11-11-22), Jimmy Egan So./F (4-17-21), Sam Harris Jr./D (1-19-20), Cole Swanson Sr./D (2-17-19), Patrick Egan Sr./F (8-8-16), Charlie Brandt Sr./G (16-8-0/2.59/.912).

Season Outlook: The Zephyrs finish off the 2022-23 season with their second state championship title in the last three seasons. The downside, is they graduated a good chunk of that roster. They did retain Jake Hodd-Chlebeck who scored over 20 points, and their starting goalie Charlie Brandt will man the crease again in 2023-24.

Simley Spartans

Coach:  Austyn Kryzer

State Tournaments:  1996, 2003

2022-23 Record:  9-15-2

Top Returners: Matt Milner Sr./F (9-11-20), Jake Stanton Sr./F (7-12-19), Zach Hilsgen Sr./F (8-7-15), Louis Tuccitto Sr. (7-7-14), Ethan Unglebee Jr. (1-7-8), Mason Melendez Sr./G (7-12-1/ 4.10/.871).  

Season Outlook: The Spartans will have a very similar roster to 2022-23, keeping their top four scorers, including Matt Milner, who scored 20 points last season and leading the team in goals. 

South St. Paul Packers

Coach:  Zach Palquist

State Tournaments:  1947, ’48, ’50, ’50, ’54, ’55, ’57, ’58, ’59, ’60, ’61, ’62, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’72, ’77, ’78, ’80, ’81, ’86, ’87, ’89, ’90, ’94, ’96, 2004

2022-23 Record:  4-21-1

Top Returners: Ray Rozales Sr./F (7-8-15), Brody Shepard Sr./D (2-8-10), Roddick Simons Jr./F (8-1-9), Bruce Doreen Sr./F (6-3-9), Cole Stever Sr./F/D (4-3-7), Wyatt Cheney Jr./G (4-21-1/ 4.07/.883). 

Season Outlook: The Packers will have a very experienced roster compared to last years. They retain their leading scorer, Ray Rozales, who led the team in goals and points. They also will have both goalies who saw time in between the crease last season. 

St. Paul Academy Spartans

Coach:  Bill McClellan

State Tournaments:  2016

2022-23 Record:  14-12-1

Top Returners: Will Black Sr./F (13-14-27), Ethan Peltier Jr./F (5-13-18), Casey Lynn Sr./D (5-8-13), Liam Huddleston Jr./F (4-4-8), James Steiner Jr./F (4-4-8), Isak Bildtsen Sr./G (6-8-1/ 3.50/.891).

Season Outlook: The Spartans will have some voids to fill after graduating six seniors from 2023. They do, although have their top scorer from last year, Will Black, who had nearly 30 points a season ago. 

St. Paul Highland Park Scots

Coach:  Paul Ryan 

State Tournaments:  N/A 

2022-23 Record:  10-16-0

Top Returners: Isaac Johnson Jr./F (16-6-22), Benny Waud Sr./D (6-9-15), Thomas Bradford Sr. (5-9-14), Oscar Andestic Sr. (6-7-13), Emmett Eischens Sr. (4-9-13), Calum Axelson Jr./G (4-2-1/ 2.75/.883). 

Season Outlook: The Scots will be a well experienced team in 2023-24, bringing back top scorers like Isaac Johnson who was second on the team in points. They’ll have Calum Axelson as their goalie this year after starting in seven contest a year ago. 

SW Christian/Richfield Stars

Coach:  Paul Ranheim

State Tournaments:  1962, ’63, ’64, ’76, ’86, ’91 (as Richfield)

2022-23 Record:  12-9-5

Top Returners: Jared Greiner Sr./F (12-16-28), Tate Hardacre So./D (5-15-20), Eli Hoffman Sr./F (11-5-16), Kaden Feltmann Sr./F (7-8-15), Owen Zick Sr./F (7-8-15), Jannes Kamp Sr./G (12-9-5/ 3.13/.922). 

Season Outlook: The Stars are bringing back four of five of their leading scorers, including Jared Greiner, who wa second on the team with 28 points. They will also bring back their top goalie, who had a great year, posting a save percentage well over .900.

Section 5A 

Becker/Big Lake Eagles

Coach:  Zach Barzee

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  10-16-0

Top Returners: Brayden Grading Sr./F (27-27-54), Jase Tobako Sr./F (18-21-39), Samuel Rusin Sr./F (4-4-8), Gunner Hanson Jr./D (3-3-6), Rylan Tobako Sr./F (3-3-6), Decian Weber Sr./G (7-8-0/4.18/.977). 

Season Outlook: The Eagles will have a good amount of their depth back for this season, but they did graduated three of their top five scorers from 2022-23. They do bring back their top scorer Brayden Graning, who led the team with 54 points. 

Little Falls Flyers

Coach:  Joey Haowski

State Tournaments:  2005, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘21

2022-23 Record:  18-9-0

Top Returners: Carter Oothoudt Sr./F (29-21-50), Joey Welinski Jr./F (15-10-25), Luke Avery Jr./D (9-15-24), Ryan Oothoudt Jr./F (9-10-19), Izaak Kalis So./G (13-3-0/2.17/.922). 

Season Outlook: The Flyers return a good chunk of their 2022-23 roster, but they do lose their leading scorer, so they will rely on players like Carter Oothoudt, who scored 50 points to help lead the team to a section championship. 

Monticello Moose

Coach:  Eric Nelson

State Tournaments:  2017, ’18, ’20, ‘22

2022-23 Record:  16-10-1

Top Returners: Roman Thompson Sr./F (9-17-26), Gunnar Simon Sr./F (13-12-25), Landen Scherber Jr./F (12-11-23), Cam Schmitz Sr./D (2-12-14), Aiden Widmark Jr./D (2-8-10), Caleb Biard Sr./G (16-10-1/ 2.44/.916).

Season Outlook: The Moose had a good 2022-23 season, and they retain their top scorer, Roman Thompson, who led the team in assist and points. They did lose a good amount of players from graduation, but they still have their starting goalie, who sported a save percentage of over .900. 

Mora/Milaca Mustangs

Coach:  Kevin Nolt

State Tournaments:  1996, ’97 

2022-23 Record:  8-17-1

Top Returners: Trenton Fore Sr./D (18-11-28), Rowan Tramm Sr./F (10-14-24), Austin Neyssen Sr./F (7-14-21), Charlie Kritzeck Jr./D (5-10-15), Dylan Prokosch Sr./F (8-5-13), Dane Price Fr./G (1-12-1/ 5.69/.806). 

Season Outlook: The Mustangs will bring back a good majority of their 2022-23 roster this season. This includes leading scorer Trenton Fore, who scored nearly 30 goals last year. 

Pine City Area Dragons

Coach:  Seth Sauter

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  12-14-1

Top Returners:  McCall Leger So./F (20-22-42), Gavin Broz Sr./F (13-17-30), Logan Kirby Jr./D (2-14-16), Blake Painovich Jr./F (5-9-14), Hunter Haug Sr./D (3-10-13), Oscar Gribauval Sr./G (7-10-0/4.66/.864). 

Season Outlook: The Dragons fly into 2023-24 with their roster mainly intact, retaining their top scorer McCall Leger, who scored over 40 points in 2022-23. 

Princeton Tigers

Coach:  Andy Fondrick

State Tournaments:  2002, ’03, ‘16

2022-23 Record:  13-13-0

Top Returners: Lane Olson Jr./F (15-14-29), Brody Kok Jr./F (13-15-28), Eli Christopher Sr./D (2-10-12), Dominic Patnode Jr./D (4-6-10), Liam Dufner Jr./G (0-1-0/5.00/.861). 

Season Outlook: The Tigers will have to rely on some scoring out of the top line, as they graduated their top three scorers. They did retain Lane Olson, who scored nearly 30 points last season. 

River Lakes Stars

Coach:  Zach Johnson

State Tournaments:  None

2022-23 Record:  10-14-2

Top Returners: Blake Schultz Jr./F (13-26-39), Anthony Fink Sr./F (13-7-20), Jace Griffin Jr./F (2-11-13), Matthew Dotzler Sr./F (6-6-12), Carson Cronquist Sr./D (5-8-1/ 3.48/.875).

Season Outlook: The Stars head into 2023-24 season with a different roster from a year ago, graduating eight seniors. They do bring back their starting goalie, Carson Cronquist, who got plenty of starting time in 2022-23.  

Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm

Coach:  Brady DeGagne

State Tournaments:  2000

2022-23 Record:  8-17-1

Top Returners: Teagan Dodge Sr./F (26-18-44), Nick Anderson Sr./F (3-11-14), Jett Wheeler Sr./F (8-3-11), Hunter Behling Jr./F (4-6-10), Vince Mum Jr./F (1-6-7), Zander Parker Sr./G (8-13-0/4.85/.844).

Season Outlook: Teagan Dodge returns for his senior season after leading the team in points with 44 for the Storm. SRR will also bring back their goalie who started nearly every game in 2022-23. 

St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders

Coach:  Robbie Stocker

State Tournaments:  1993, ’94, 2004, ’08, ’09, ’14, ’16, ’17, ’19 Champs, ’20, ’23

2022-23 Record:  18-13-0

Top Returners:  John Hirschfeild Jr./F (19-31-50), Joey Gillespie Jr./F (22-24-46), Andrew Dwinnell Sr./F (19-25-44) Cole Hwang Sr./F (12-17-29), Landon Swenson Sr./F (13-12-25), Nick Hansen Sr./G (17-13-0/2.34/.913). 

Season Outlook: The Crusaders advanced to their first state tournament since 2020. They were a very young team in 2022-23, which is impressive, because they had a plethora of scoring from all over the roster. John Hirschfeild was just a sophomore last season, and he still led the team in points. They also have their starting goalie back, who has a save percentage of well over .900. St. Cloud Cathedral could be a very good team to watch this year, as they look to get back to the state championship game. 

Section 6A

Alexandria Cardinals 

Coach: Josh Meyers 

State Tournaments: 92, 96, 10, 11, 18, 22, 23.

2022-23 Record: 15-14-1

Top Returners: Leo Kompelien Sr./F (19-15-34), Gavin Olson Sr./F (13-14-27), Jack Lamski Sr./D (5-21-26), Evan Anderson Sr./F (6-7-13), Gage Castle Sr./D (1-11-12), Jackson Cavers Sr./G (2-4-1/ 2.65/.883).

Season Outlook: The Cardinals started slow in 2022-23 but caught fire to win the section and advance to the state tournament. They did graduate ten seniors in 2023, including their leading scorer, but they bring back their top defenseman Jack Lamski, and Leo Kompelien, who scored over 30 points last season. 

Breckenridge/Wahpeton Blades

Coach:  Evan McCall 

State Tournaments:  No

2022-23 Record: 1-24-0

Top Returners:  Josh Hofman So./F (3-6-9), Isaiah Bruechert So./F (3-4-7), Jace Johanson Sr./D (4-3-7), Trey Vogelbacher Jr./F (5-1-6), Kai McDonald So./F (2-3-5), David Beam Jr./G (0-3-0/8.33/.764).

Season Outlook: The Blades bright back four of five of their top scorers from 2022-23, including Josh Hofman, who was second on the team in goals and points. They will have a new goalie in net, but David Beam also did get a couple games under his belt. 

Fergus Falls Otters

Coach:  Mike Donaghue 

State Tournaments: 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03.

2022-23 Record:  14-11-2

Top Returners:  Kellen Stenstrom Sr./F (25-32-57), Shane Zierden Sr./F (13-21-34), Jack Welde Sr./F (9-13-22), Leighton Buckmeier Sr./D (8-11-19), Michael Schmidt Jr./F (3-7-10), Brady Metcalf Sr./G (1-1-0/3.50/.870). 

Season Outlook: The Otters were one win away from getting back to the state tournament last year in Section 6A. They return a healthy amount of players although, including scoring leader Kellen Stenstrom, who scored nearly 60 points in 2022-23. 

Morris/Benson Area Storm 

Coach:  Jeremiah Day 

State Tournaments:  N/A

2022-23 Record:  15-10-0

Top Returners: Charlie Goff Sr./F (32-15-47), Kaleb Breuer Sr./D (5-9-14), Bryce Lehman So./D (2-9-11), Zach Wrobleski Jr./F (5-6-11), Tucker Blume Sr./F (5-6-11), Christopher Danielson Sr./G (13-9-0/3.53/878). 

Season Outlook: The Storm had a good season, winning 15 games. They did graduate a good amount of scoring leaders, other than Charlie Goff who scored nearly 50 goals last season. They also will have the same three goalies who saw action in 2022-23. 

Northern Lakes Lightning 

Coach: Erik Vetsch 

State Tournaments: 2021 

2022-23 Record: 12-15-0

Top Returners: Logan Verville Sr./F (21-12-33), Easton Anderson Jr./F (12-19-31), Jerome Martin Jr./F (16-11-27), Isaac Peterson Sr./D (5-18-23), Finnegan Fogarty Jr./F (12-7-19), Nigel DeSanto Sr./G (6-8-0/3.24/.898).

Season Outlook: The Lightning will be much more experienced team in 2023-24, they return their leading scorer, Logan Verville, who scored over 30 points last season. They do return one of the three goalies that saw playing time last seasons, so there is also experience in net. 

Prairie Centre North Stars 

Coach: Chad Wehrman 

State Tournaments: None  

2022-23 Record: 7-19-0

Top Returners: James Ireland So./F (12-31-43), Jesse Williams Sr./F (8-20-28), Zac Bick Sr./F (12-13-25), Aiken Lambrecht Jr./F (6-5-11), Caiden Frerichs Jr./D (1-3-4), Carter Holman Jr./G (7-19-0/5.21/.830).

Season Outlook: The North Stars will be without their leading scorer, but they bring back the second, third, and fourth leading scorers, James Rieland, Jesse Williams, and Zac Bick. They also bring back their goalie, who got a lot of playing time last season. 

Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines

Coach: Robby Grendahl 

State Tournaments: ‘94, ‘04.

2022-23 Record: 15-11-1

Top Returners: Carson Davis Jr./F (6-11-17), Cooper Ness Jr./F (5-8-13), Jaeger Pettit Sr./D/F (6-3-9), Peyton Mithun Jr./F (3-5-8), Gunner Olson Sr./G (13-8-1/ 4.53/.843). 

Season Outlook: The Wolverines head into the 2023-24 season with a very different roster, as they graduated a lot of players. They will although have Carson Davis, who scored 17 points last year. They have a new coach, who will be in his first year at the helm, so this will be a seasons to watch for WDC. 

Willmar Cardinals 

Coach: Jamie Hagen  

State Tournaments: 9-17-0  

2022-23 Record: 9-17-0

Top Returners: Cullen Gregory Sr./F (21-12-33), Jordan Gorans Sr./F (3-9-12), Dylan Staska Sr./D (2-10-12), Charles Swart Sr./F (3-6-9), Dieken Carruthers Sr./D (1-5-6), Mason Thole Sr./G (3-3-0/6.15/.825).

Season Outlook: The Cardinals will have their top scorer, Cullen Gregory back for his senior season, scoring over 30 points last year, leading the team. They will also have a goalie who saw time as a starter in 2022-23. 

Warroad’s Carson Pilgrim is a top scoring player returning in the state after posting 92 points as a junior. Pilgrim leads a strong Warroad squad into the 2023-24 season after finishing second last season after a 6-5 overtime loss to Mahtomedi in the title game. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS

Section 7A

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks  

Coach: Shea Walters 

State Tournaments: 82, 92, 93, 02, 08.

2022-23 Record: 16-9-1

Top Returners: Joseph Antonutti Sr./F (15-14-29), Karson Young Jr./D (2-17-19), Jace Stewart Sr./F (5-10-15), Ethan Kilichowski Sr./F (5-8-13), Ryan Jones Sr./F (3-9-12), Logan Sickmann Sr./G (9-3-0/2.90/.875).

Season Outlook: The Lumberjacks bring back their top defenseman, Karson Young, Cole Painovich, Cooper Ellena. They will also have all three goalies who got playing in 2022-23, including Logan Sickmann, who got to see the ice the most. 

Ely/Northeast Range Timberwolves

Coach: Jake Meyers 

State Tournaments: None 

2022-23 Record: 8-18-0

Top Returners: Deegan Richards Sr./F (21-25-46), Drew Marolt Sr./F (24-14-38), Jace Huntbach Jr./F (4-10-14), Wes Sandy Sr./D (1-12-13), Kadein Zupancich Sr./D (2-8-10), Ben Leeson Jr./G (1-5-0/6.18/.837). 

Season Outlook: The Timberwolves Bring back a good amount of players from 2022-23, including their top two scorers, Deegan Richards and Drew Marolt, who both scored over 35 points. 

Greenway Raiders 

Coach: Andy Sertich 

State Tournaments: 62, 66, 67, (champs), 68 (champs), 69, 70, 87, 92 (champs), 01, 19.

2022-23 Record: 8-19-0

Top Returners: Jace Kammeier Sr./F (3-5-8), Thomas Vekich Sr./F (5-3-8), Dylan Villeneuve Sr./D (2-6-8), Caiden Carpenter Sr./D (1-5-6), Mac Gang Jr./D (1-3-4), Derek Gibeau Sr./G (6-11-0/4.24/.884).

Season Outlook: The Raiders graduated the top five scorers of 2022-23, but they do have a healthy amount of seniors, so they may have to rely on them. They will also retain their starting goalie, who played a majority of the seasons last year. 

Hermantown Hawks

Coach: Patrick Andrews  

State Tournaments: 94, 98, 99, 01, 06, 07, (champs), 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (champs), 17 (champs), 18, 20, 21, 22 (champs), 23.

2022-23 Record: 27-3-1

Top Returners: Dallas Vieau Sr./F (23-27-50), Rover Freeman Jr./F (13-14-27), Joshua Kauppinen Sr./F (17-8-25), William Easterbrooks Sr./D (6-16-22), Evan Gunderson Sr./F (5-12-17), Dane Callaway Sr./G (15-2-0/1.58/.921.

Season Outlook: The Hawks are entering the 2023-24 season with a slightly different roster, graduating three of the five top scorers on their team. Although if there was any team that can rebound from graduating many players, it’s Hermantown. They do bring back their top scorer too, Dallas Vieau, who scored 50 points for the Hawks. Dane Callaway will also return, coming in as one of the top goalies in the state. 

Hibbing/Chisholm Bluejackets 

Coach: Eric Rewertz 

State Tournaments: 52 (champs), 67, 70, 73 (champs), 74, 82, 84, 85, 86, 94, 03, 04, 11.

2022-23 Record: 16-9-1

Top Returners: Christian Edmonds Sr./D (5-12-17), Jack Gabardine Sr./F (6-8-14), Jace Kampsula Jr./F (8-4-12), Blaydon McCue Sr./D (2-9-11), Tyler Raatsi Jr./F (1-2-3), Tim Urdahl Jr./G (3-0-0/1.67/.908).

Season Outlook: The Bluejackets will have somewhat of a rebuilding year, after graduating 11 seniors, and all five top scores, and their starting goalie. They will have their second best scoring defenseman, Christian Edmonds. 

International Falls Broncos 

Coach: Chad Baldwin  

State Tournaments: 50, 56, 57, (champs), 58, 59, 62 (champs), 63, 64 (champs), 65 (champs), 66 (champs), 68, 71, 72 (champs), 73, 83, 89, 95 (champs), 00, 02.

2022-23 Record: 13-14-0

Top Returners: Cooper Crandall Jr./F (12-14-26), Royce Allan Sr./F (9-8-17), Noah Shikowsky Sr./F (9-6-15), Aiden McFarland Jr./D (3-8-11), Asher Keep Jr./F (4-5-9), Keaton Marsh Jr./G (5-4-0/3.74/.838).

Season Outlook: The Broncos will have to rely on some of last years depth players, as they graduated all but on of the 2022-23 top five scoring leaders. They will retain Cooper Crandall, who scored 26 points, being the second leading player on the roster. 

Moose Lake Area Rebels

Coach: Chris Gamst 

State Tournaments: None

2022-23 Record: 5-19-0

Top Returners: Jordan Bird Sr./D (2-9-11), Jaxsyn Schmidt Sr./F (3-4-7), Joey Olson Jr./F (2-3-5), Gavin Gamst So./F (2-2-4), Dalton Slama Jr./F (1-3-4), Eli Gilberts Jr./G (3-9-0/4.79/.972).

Season Outlook: The Rebels will return a good amount of players from 2022-23, but the did graduate four of their top five scorers. They will have Jordan Bird back for his senior season, he scored 11 points as a defenseman. 

North Shore Storm 

Coach: Shawn Lundgren  

State Tournaments: 1999

2022-23 Record: 6-18-1

Top Returners: Jake Stadler Sr./F (17-15-32), Ayden Althaus Jr./F (10-10-20), Jacob Carpenter Jr./D (8-7-15), Cole Anderson Jr./F (5-7-12), Braylon Hoff Sr./F (4-3-7), Zach Bentler Sr./G (5-12-0/5.53/.872). 

Season Outlook: The Storm will have good experience, with a very similar roster to last years squad. They bring back their top five scorers and their starting goalie.