A Short Interview…

…with myself.

Sota: Good grief. Where have you been?!

Sota: Well. Things have been busy. Family. Work. Hockey. We got to take a nice trip for spring break. And doing a blog is way more work than I thought it would be. Plus I hit a creative wall. And hit it pretty fast. Let’s face it I am not the most creative or clever person in the world but I try. And the pay is not the best. But it was a great start to the blog though. There were days when we were getting 1500+ page views in a day. And averaging around 1000 views per day in the thick of the high school season. I wonder what CCM or Bauer would pay for some prominent ad space? Actually probably nothing cuz my viewership is most likely 6 crazy parents coming back to the site 200 times per day waiting to see if their kid got mentioned. Now that I think about it maybe the Hockey Helper Helmet would take a banner ad.

Sota: On behalf of those 6 parents we are glad you are back. A lot of things have happened.

Sota: Yeah a lot has happened. Edina won another championship as we all know. 3 in a row. Sami Reber is batting 1.000. But it wasn’t easy. The path through Section 6 is no cake walk. Cake walk. Ha. See how this time off has really benefited me? Tonka took them to the bobby brink in the semifinal. I might take the next few months off before the next post. This stuff is blogging gold. And Olivia King for Brainerd almost stole it from the Hornets with her incredible play in net. Through 3 periods and 2 OT periods she saw 55 shots. 51 of them came in regulation. Edina’s 3 regulation goals were all on the power play. King was the best player on the ice that night and it wasn’t even close.

Breck won the Class A tournament. In 5 post season games Breck outscored their opponents 34-3. They beat a previously unbeaten Mound Westonka team 11-1 in the State Tourney semifinal. It was 10-1 after 2 periods. They have two 8th graders committed to the Gophers. Their 8th grade goalie will probably commit there before May 1st. Not to mention all the other D1 commits they have. Can the MSHSL force them to move to AA? Seriously. That’s ridiculous. And you know what else is ridiculous? The MSHSL moving Minnetonka to Section 6. Edina. Blake. Wayzata. Tonka. BSM. So stupid. And then they move North Wright into Section 7. You could take the teams out of Section 6 and Section 7 that DO NOT advance to the state tournament and have a better tournament than the State Tourney. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. Maybe I should host a competing tournament the same weekend and host it at Ridder. I could call it “unState”. unState would have the likes of Edina, Tonka, Wayzata, Blake, BSM, Forest Lake, Andover, North Wright, and Grand Rapids. And it is hard to take the MSHSL’s stance that section assignment is “geography based” seriously when they move Lakeville North out of Section 1. Section 1 is where Lakeville South is. Those two are the same town!! And Cretin is in Section 6. Does the MSHSL know that Cretin is in St. Paul? Cretin should be in Section 4 at the very least. Osseo/Park Center is in Section 6? They should be in Section 5. There are seven teams in Section 5. Adding Osses/Park Center as the 8th team would make a lot of sense. Geography schmeography. And why would Waconia move to AA? MSHSL moves them into Section 2AA and displaces Minnetonka to make room for them?! This past season was their first as a stand alone program. They were 2-22-1 playing a Class A schedule. You would think logic would ultimately interject itself at some point in all of this but I guess not.

Sota: Jeez. Tell us how you really feel? Moving on. Some prominent programs will have a coaching change.

Sota: Yes, a few surprises for sure. Eric Johnson decided to leave Minnetonka after 14 or 15 seasons, 3 state championships, a runner up and a third place this most recent season. Strange timing as the Tonka team will be even better next year. Tracy Cassano, formerly of Burnsville, will step into the Tonka job and hit the ground running with a strong group of returners and a talented pipeline that runs all the way to 10Us. Mira Jalosuo has taken the Stillwater job after assisting at Wayzata. But then Jess Scott resigns from Wayzata a couple days ago?! That was a bit of a shocker. Too bad Mira had taken the Stillwater job. With her having been an assistant at Wayzata and having her Ice Cougars program pulling heavily from the West Metro that would’ve been an ideal spot for her in a perfect world. The Ice Cougars could have been a platform to refill the Wayzata youth pipeline which seems to be in a bit of a death spiral. Well. Death spiral might be too strong but their 12s and 10s are down. Brainerd’s coach steps down after the runner up finish. I wonder if Sandy Smith takes over for just one year. MGHCA Hall of Famer Glen Gilderman steps down after 21 years at Proctor Hermantown with 322 career wins and a third place finish in this year’s Class A State Tourney. The new coach will be stepping into a great situation. That program will continue to be very good. There are a handful of other openings but they aren’t too surprising or noteworthy. Although one more worth mentioning is Woodbury. They have an opening. I am curious as to if the Pohls would step in at this point as they have a REALLY good group at 10U. But that might be a bit premature.

Sota: We’ve seen some youngsters commit recently. What has been the reasoning behind this?

Sota: Well. The NCAA just voted to change the communication rules between college programs and athletes. This new rule will go into effect on May 1st and effectively eliminate early recruiting. Although I am sure that some coaches and families will find a creative work around. Essentially the rule states that no program can communicate with an athlete until June 15th after their sophomore year. Everyone has been front running the rule change so the velocity of really young athletes committing has picked up. There are at least fourteen 8th graders committed right now. At this time last year there was only one. My guess is we will see some more commit between now and May 1st. And everyone should be thankful that this rule has been implemented. Both college coaches and families. It is craziness to think that a kid has decided where to go to college in 4 years. It takes them a half a day to decide what their Instagram caption is going to be.

Sota: HP has started. Any thoughts there?

Sota: Not a ton but the logistics of the HP 16/17 process has changed. They will be holding the National Camps prior to the 18 Select Camp this year. It is not clear if they will be naming any Select Camp invites coming out of 54s or if they will send them all to National Camp first then name all the Select Camp invites after. Also, Select Camp will be held in St. Cloud this year rather than in Maine where it has historically been. USA Hockey has a new Director of Women’s National Team Programs in Katie Million. Katie was most recently the the Vice President and Women’s League Commissioner of the WCHA. I am curious to see how she makes her mark within USA Hockey and on the National Program. As far as I can tell USA Hockey has not put anyone in the role of Head Scout to replace Matt Kelly who left to take the job at Providence. And I am not sure they will so I am curious to see how the scouting/selection process works in its new form.

Sota: What else do you have?

Sota: Nothing. That’s all I got. But I am looking forward to getting back into the rink to watch some hockey. See you at the rink!

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