Hastings at Woodbury
3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22
Two of the state’s coaching legends welcome in a new season when Wes Bolin and Woodbury host Hastings and Russ Welch. The longtime leaders have a combined 893 wins in 61 seasons of coaching. Welch has a career record of 456-309-24 in 30 years, which ranks him 14th on the all-time victory list among Minnesota coaches, while Bolin is 15th with a mark of 437-285-38 in 31 years.
The Woodbury school district split five years ago, and the Royals lost many potential players to East Ridge, damaging a program that had just made back-to-back state tournament trips. Woodbury has not been back since. The Royals graduated six seniors from a team that won eight games last year and will be led by junior forwards Jared Markeson and Sasha Choporov.
Hastings won 10 games last year and is more than a decade removed from the program’s most dominant run of success: four state tournament berths in four years (1998-2001). Those teams were led by 1999 Mr. Hockey winner Jeff Taffe and fellow finalists Dan Welch and Ben Tharp.
Senior Mikey Junker (14 goals, 25 points) is the top returning scorer for this year’s edition of the Raiders.