Darby Hendrickson will never forget the elation he shared with Mike Thomas after Richfield clinched its trip to the 1991 state tournament.
"He taught a lot of us the real definition of working hard," Hendrickson, now an assistant for the Wild, said of his former head coach. "We didn't always have the most talented teams at Richfield going up against Edina and some of those other great teams. But we never got out-worked."
Thomas is currently an assistant with Eagan. Hendrickson was not the least bit surprised to hear word that Wildcats coach Mike Taylor gave credit to Thomas for being a key part to this year's tournament team.
"He was an old-school guy," Hendrickson said. "You were going to work, and that's the way it was. No nonsense."
Hendrickson went on to play two years for the Gophers before eventually scoring the first goal for the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
"I give Mike a lot of credit for not only helping me get better but for challenging me," he said. "You could be getting all the points, but he was going to challenge you to get better."
A freshman seeing ice time in the state hockey tournament is rare, but not unheard of. But the odds of that freshman also being an accomplished cellist?
"How many cello-playing hockey players do you know?" Benilde-St. Margaret's coach Ken Pauly asked.
Well, one now.
Wanting to "do something different" in the classroom a few years ago, Ben Newhouse picked up a cello for the first time. It's far more than a school subject now; it's a source of entertainment.
"The seniors made me play it in the locker room," Newhouse said.
He belted out a quick rendition of "Hot Cross Buns" but that wasn't near enough. So the youngster played Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
"That was fun," Newhouse said.
Call to the hall
The Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association celebrated its 2012 class of hall of fame inductees between Thursday's sessions of state hockey action.
The inductees included Harry Brown (Minneapolis), Cary Eades (Warroad), Keith Schafer
(Wayzata) and Chuck Watson (Moorhead).
Pack 'em in
Attendance for Thursday's afternoon session was 17,222.
Empty-net goal turned out to be the game-winner over top-seeded 'Hounds
Made 34 saves in shutout victory
Big D-man laid big hits on the Crimson
101 Points this season for Kloos
9 different players with first-period shots on goal for Edina
37 faceoffs taken by Duluth East's Dom Toninato
"We want the game back."
Maple Grove's Jordan Gross, after Hill-Murray pulled an upset.