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As part of our preseason coverage, we searched far and wide across the state to come up with great players in certain skill categories.  The following five nominees are presented in no particular order.  Certainly, it’s just opinion, but we asked one of the top players (Hill-Murray's Zach LaValle) what it takes to make this list.


Hill-Murray senior Zach LaValle

Q: What kind of skills does it take to develop something like seeing the whole ice?
A:
You always have to have your head up. I was always taught when going into the corner to know your surroundings. Playing football has helped me with that, because I’m always scanning the field as the quarterback. You just have your eyes on the guys, knowing where they are and what hand they are.

Q: Do you think being a senior and having played so many years has helped? Being calmer and knowing what’s going on?
A:
Exactly. I have a lot of experience and I know what it takes. Sometimes in that third period you have to give it that extra effort.

Q: You’re a two-year captain for Hill-Murray. What does that say about you that your teammates recognized you as a leader?
A:
It was pretty special for me beause I’d been there for a while. But I’m just out there trying to make myself better and make everyone else around me better at the same time.

Q: Are there any specific drills you work on to help develop your vision?
A:
We always do a cycling drill where once you get the puck in the corner, you have your head up right away. There will always be a guy on the strong-side D or the weak-side D and you have to get your head up and find him right way. Coach Lechner always has us doing that one.


Zach LaValle looks for open space against Roseville last season. (Photo by Helen Nelson).

Other skills Q and A

  • Jack Ramsey, Minnetonka: on being a power forward
  • Adam Pancoast, Thief River Falls: on being a defensive defenseman
  • Alex Kremer, Worthington: on having great hands
  • Dan Labosky, Benilde-St. Margaret's: on speed and quickness
  • Jake Zeleznikar, Hermantown: on puck-rushing from the blue line
  • Jason Samuelson, Rochester Lourdes: on linemate chemistry
  • Meirs Moore, Duluth East: on shooting from the point
  • Sam Stenson, Holy Family Catholic: on using the body
  • Shane Gersich, Holy Family Catholic: on being a sniper
  • Alex Murray, Duluth Marshall: on playing the angles
  • Angel Hillstrom, Robbinsdale Cooper: on leadership
  • Brach Kraus, New Ulm: on quickness in net
  • Chase Perry, Andover: on net coverage

All these skills Q and A, along with lists of the top players at each, are included in this year's edition of the Breakdown/MN Hockey Hub's annual guidebook.  Get your copy of the book today!

The Minnesota Hockey Hub/Breakdown's fifth annual guide to Minnesota high school hockey is now available for purchase...and hockey fans won't want to miss out on this book.  Our annual preview book is 200+ pages of pure Minnesota high school hockey. In short, it truly is the “encyclopedia of Minnesota high school hockey.

We preview every high school program in the state, from Kittson Central to La Crescent, North Shore to Luverne and all schools in between.

Our books include: 

  • Player profiles on the Super 100 seniors, Top 75 juniors, Elite 50 sophomores/freshmen, along with Q and A with hundreds of the state's best players.
  • Q and A on hockey skills with assorted players.
  • Preseason rankings on the Fab 15 in both Class AA and A.
  • Preseason All-State teams in both Class AA and A.
  • Extensive section previews on all 16 sections in Class AA and A.
  • Team capsules on EVERY program in the state with scouting reports on "who to watch."
  • Feature stories on eight programs from around the state (Totino-Grace, St. Cloud Cathedral, New Prague, Luverne, Mounds View, Roseau, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton and Minnetonka).
  • Hundreds of photos of players and coaches.
It’s a hockey lover’s dream. You can’t find this complete a resource anywhere else.
 
Here’s what Ken Pauly, President of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association and head coach at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, had to say about our product: “The Breakdown has quickly established itself as the leader in offering the high school sports fans the most comprehensive preview information for their chosen sport. Minnesota’s high school hockey coaches are thrilled to become a part of the Breakdown’s family of publications."

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