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Finishing with a league record of 11-2-3, they will head in to the District tournament this weekend.
Every kid growing up playing hockey in Minnesota looks up to those ahead of them and sees the possibility of what they could achieve. This past Thursday, live on national television, the World’s lead sports news story was US vs Canada. Two teams at the pinnacle of their sport in an epic battle that will be remembered and talked about for decades to come (certainly in Canada). Repeatedly, we heard with pride that a full quarter of the U.S. team had played their college hockey for the Gophers.
On Friday, three of the Hopkins U8s palled around Xcel Energy Center together watching a double overtime High School State Tournament Semifinal. Many of the other U8s (at home on another snow day) watched the live broadcast on TV. This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Minnesota Girls State Hockey Tournament.
By 6:15pm that night, both Hopkins-Park U8 teams gathered in the lobby of the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena with their hockey bags. They were ready to be led down to a guest locker room to get dressed to play as the between periods entertainment. They skated to a 0-0 tie in their three minute showcase. There were a few nice rushes and a few strong defensive plays to close the door.
Other highlights: lined up along the wall in their gear in the hallway under the stands as the Gophers and UMD Bulldogs marched by off to their locker rooms following the 1st period. Gopher Captain Bethany Brausen doubled back to high five the girls and wish them luck in their game. During the wait in the hall, they had a five minute private audience with Goldy Gopher as she turned her head around, danced and high fived the players.
The girls cheered the Gophers to a 5-0 blowout over 12th ranked UMD.
In one 36 hour period, these young hockey players were exposed to the three greatest venues currently in girls hockey, and they were given a sample of what playing on a big stage feels like. The Association expanded the opportunities available for the girls this season and our roll has reached 66 girls from miniMites through U12 this season. This group of U8s and those that follow should enjoy unrivaled opportunities and options in hockey. A great day for Hopkins girls hockey!
The 12U player’s group text messages blew up with pleas to gather for a pond hockey game as soon as news of Friday’s snow day had arrived. The disappointment of being dismissed from the District playoffs Monday by (the District Champs and #2 Ranked) Wayzata Blue had worn off.
A day on the pond was followed by Hopkins-Park Hockey’s annual night at Ridder Arena to see the the top ranked two time defending NCAA Champion Gopher Women blowout the 12th ranked UMD Bulldogs. The night became even more memorable when this year’s Hopkins Varsity Captain, Nina Rodgers, paid the girls a visit between periods. It was Rodgers’ first visit to Ridder since completing her High School playing career. She is looking forward to playing next winter at the University.
A lot of the girls got to meet and skate with Nina and her teammates a year ago, when the Varsity Girls hosted a pizza night to support Hopkins Girls (Youth) Hockey. Her contagious smile and enthusiasm helped make that night a season highlight for a bunch of players and added to the roll of Nina’s fan club.
Nina grew up playing Hopkins Hockey, and she thrived! She was a finalist for the Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, which was awarded Sunday following the State Tournament. Nina was also a repeat member on the Under 18 U.S. National Team this summer. They trained in Lake Placid, NY and played a series against Team Canada.
Nina asked the girls about how their season was going, and upon hearing about Monday’s Wayzata game, she quipped empathetically “Unfortunately, I know about that a little too well. That’s how we went out too.” The girls snapped a few “Welcome to Ridder Arena” photos with her and wished her good luck at the Ms. Hockey banquet.
Hopkins-Park Girls Hockey Night at Ridder Arena was a complete success! The girls had fun together with more unforgettable experiences. They cheered a teammate as she was out on a Zamboni ride, had a great time together watching the 5-0 Gopher blowout and got to spend a few minutes with a Hopkins player who is achieving her hockey dreams. Another great day for hockey!
With a win over Armstrong/Cooper the PW A's have secured one of three seeds into Regions. They will play in the District Championship game against Orono on Saturday, 8:30 pm at Parade North.
Fri Jan 31 W 2-1 Spring Lake Park
Sat Feb 1 L 1-4 Roseville
Sat Feb 1 W 3-0 Duluth East
Sun Feb 2 W 5-3 Blaine
Sun Feb 2 W 1-0 Moorehead
The Squirt B2 and C teams both returned From the Blue Devils Indoor/Outdoor tournament in Mora last weekend with Trophies. The C team capturing third place and the B2 team winn the consolation championship. The teams enjoyed swimming together, watching each others' games, and had a pizza and bowling party together. The B2 team also took home the coveted hot dog eating championship trophy.