Boys’ hockey players throughout Minnesota are enduring varsity tryouts this week, hoping to avoid the chopping block.
The shrinking Robbinsdale Cooper program can relate. A co-op with Fridley, approved by the Robbinsdale School Board, added only one player to the mix for just the 2013-14 season. What happens after that for the Hawks is far from certain.
“I know we’ve been talking about, ‘If we don’t have enough players, what are the next steps to ensure players can have a good, competitive hockey option?’ ” Cooper principal Christina Hester said.
One option is merging with Robbinsdale Armstrong. The girls’ hockey programs from Armstrong and Cooper joined forces beginning with the 2011-12 season.
Another hockey conglomerate, the North Metro boys’ program, folded after the 2011-12 season. The Stars were a co-op of Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Fridley and Park Center. Players from three of those schools can now compete for Osseo. Fridley activities director Dan Roff said his student-athletes could not join because practices begin before Fridley’s school day ends.
Roff said he wants to “get people to the table” to discuss why North Metro folded and the possibility of reviving the program.
Eagles regain identity
Totino-Grace didn’t look much like itself in the first half of its 34-33 Class 6A quarterfinal victory against Osseo last Friday.
With seven state championships in the second-largest class over the last 10 years, the Eagles have a built reputation for playing disciplined football and not beating themselves.
But they crammed a month’s worth of mistakes into the first 24 minutes Friday: three turnovers, eight penalties (including four personal fouls), a touchdown called back, a dropped pass that would have been an easy touchdown and a missed extra point.
Senior running back Kai Barber, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 5:57 left in the fourth-quarter, said his team got caught up in the fervor of the game.
“We tried to come out with more emotion, but we kind of took it the wrong way and had to fix that,” Barber said. “Once we did, we started playing a lot better.”
Trailing 20-12 at halftime, coach Jeff Ferguson calmed his team, explaining that the game was far from over.
“He didn’t raise his voice,” Barber said. “He just told us to keep our heads up. We were still in the game.”
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574