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03/09/2013, 6:30pm CST
By MN Hockey Hub staff

Section realignment includes movement from both Class 1A finalists

The placement of three-time defending Class 1A state champion St. Thomas Academy was the hot topic when the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) released its 2013-14 section alignments Saturday, March 9. But the Cadets weren't the only team on the move.

Four-time Class 1A runner-up Hermantown also has a new playoff home, albeit one with which the Hawks are plenty familiar. Hermantown joins much of the Iron Range Conference and several of its Lake Superior Conference rivals in Section 7A, including Duluth Marshall and Duluth Denfeld. 

Hermantown's shift north was just part of the big break up in Section 5A, which saw three of its top seeds from this past year move into new sections. St. Cloud Cathedral, which qualified for state in 2008 and 2009 out of 5A, is a new member of Section 6A along with Sauk Rapids-Rice, giving a distinct central Minnesota feel to that region. Rogers, also a strong Section 5A program the past few years, opted up to Section 5AA.

"For Central Minnesota, this will be good," said Cathedral coach Eric Johnson, who said the student body already heavily supports home games against neighbors Sartell-St. Stephen, St. Cloud Apollo and Little Falls, all of whom are now in Section 6A with the Crusaders.

"This should help hockey grow," Johnson continued. "It's a big deal in this area and will add a bit more to the rivalries."

Meanwhile, St. Thomas Academy earned a spot in Section 3AA along, where the Cadets will do battle with longtime rival Cretin-Derham Hall.

"You know whenever you wish to be in a section that you think you could do well in, it never works out," St. Thomas Academy co-coach Greg Vannelli said after learning his team was moving into Section 3AA. "You just take it the way it goes. Look at this year, Eagan lost and they were favored. You’ve got to be careful what you wish for. Just get the job done wherever you are."

Minnehaha Academy and New Ulm were both listed as moving up to Class 2A in the original MSHSL realignments, but text message exchanges with Redhawks' coach Pat Griswold and Eagles' coach Erik Setterholm indicated both would petition to remain in Class 1A.

The full 2013-14 boys' hockey section realignment is listed below.

-- Tim Kolehmainen, Breakdown Sports USA

Class 1A Section Alignment

SECTION TEAMS (Bolded teams are new to section) CHANGES
1A Albert Lea
Austin
Faribault
La Crescent
Mankato East
Mankato West
New Prague
Northfield
Red Wing
Rochester Lourdes
Waseca
LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter realigned to Class 2A, Section 2.
2A Blake
Bloomington Kennedy
Breck
Chaska
Delano
Minnehaha Academy*
Mound-Westonka
Orono
Richfield
St. Louis Park
Waconia
Bloomington Kennedy joins from Class 2A, Section 2. Providence Academy realigned to Section 5.
3A Fairmont
Hutchinson
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato
Luverne
Marshall
Morris/Benson Area
New Ulm*
Redwood Valley
Willmar
Windom Area
Worthington
Willmar and Morris/Benson Area join from Section 6.
4A Achiever Academy
Henry Sibley
Mahtomedi
Simley
South St. Paul
St. Paul Academy & Summit
St. Paul Como Park
St. Paul Highland Park
St. Paul Johnson
Totino-Grace
St. Paul Como Park and St. Paul Johnson join from Class 2A, Section 4. Chisago Lakes and Spring Lake Park realigned to Section 5. St. Thomas Academy opts up Class 2A, Section 3.
5A Chisago Lakes Area
Legacy Christian Academy
Moose Lake Area
Mora/Hinckley-Finlayson
North Branch
Pine City/Rush City
Princeton
Proctor
Providence Academy
Spring Lake Park
Spring Lake Park and Chisago Lakes join from Section 4. Providence Academy joins from Section 2. Hermantown realigned to Section 7. St. Cloud Cathedral and Sauk Rapids-Rice realigned to Section 6. Rogers opts up to Class 2A, Section 5.
6A Alexandria
Breckenridge/Wahpaton
Fergus Falls
Little Falls
Prairie Centre Area
Sartell-St. Stephen
Sauk Rapids-Rice
St. Cloud Apollo
St. Cloud Cathedral
Wadena-Deer Creek
St. Cloud Cathedral and Sauk Rapids-Rice join from Section 5. Morris/Benson Area and Willmar realigned to Section 3.
7A Duluth Denfeld
Duluth Marshall
Ely
Eveleth-Gilbert
Greenway
Hermantown
Hibbing/Chisholm
International Falls
North Shore
Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl
Hermantown from Section 5.
8A Bagley/Fosston
Crookston
Detroit Lakes
East Grand Forks
Kittson Central
Lake of the Woods
Park Rapids
Red Lake Falls
Thief River Falls
Warroad
No change.

*According to Minnehaha coach Pat Griswold, the Red Hawks were incorrectly realigned to Class 2A but will be competing in Class 1A for the 2013-2014 season. It is unsure which section Minnehaha Academy will participate in at this time.

*According to New Ulm coach Erik Setterholm, the Eagles will petition to remain in Section 3A next year after being placed in Section 2AA by the MSHSL in the initial realignment. The Eagles received no players from Springfield and Minnesota Valley Lutheran schools last year and may drop those co-ops to remain below the enrollment threshold.

Class 2A Section Alignment

SECTION TEAMS (Bolded teams are new to section) CHANGES
1AA Dodge County
Farmington
Lakeville North
Lakeville South
Owatonna
Rochester Century
Rochester John Marshall
Rochester Mayo
Winona
No change.
2AA Academy of Holy Angels
Bloomington Jefferson
Burnsville
Chanhassen
Edina
Le Sueur-Henderson/St-Peter
Prior Lake
Shakopee
Le Sueur-Henderson/St. Peter joins from Class 1A, Section 1. Bloomington Kennedy realigned to Class 1A, Section 2.
3AA Apple Valley
Cretin-Derham Hall
Eagan
East Ridge
Eastview
Hastings
Park
Rosemount
St. Thomas Academy
Woodbury
St. Thomas Academy opts up from Class 1A, Section 4.
4AA Hill-Murray
Irondale
Mounds View
North
Roseville
Stillwater
Tartan
White Bear Lake
Irondale joins from Section 5. St. Paul Como Park and St. Paul Johnson realigned to Class 1A, Section 4.
5AA Anoka
Blaine
Centennial
Champlin Park
Coon Rapids
Maple Grove
Osseo
Rogers
Rogers joins from Class 1A, Section 5. Irondale realigned to Section 4.
6AA Benilde-St. Margaret's
Eden Prairie
Holy Family Catholic
Hopkins
Minneapolis
Minnetonka
Robbinsdale Armstrong
Robbinsdale Cooper
Wayzata
No change.
7AA Andover
Cambridge-Isanti
Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
Duluth East
Elk River/Zimmerman
Forest Lake
Grand Rapids
St. Francis
St. Michael-Albertville
No change.
8AA Becker/Big Lake
Bemidji
Brainerd
Buffalo
Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake
Moorhead
Northern Lakes
River Lakes
Roseau
St. Cloud Tech
No change.

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