The top senior girls’ hockey players in the state converged on the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine for the 15th edition of the Senior Classic March 1-3.
Seniors are nominated by coaches and a section team is formed by bringing Class A and AA schools from that section together to make one team.
Section 4 finished with a 1-2-0 record with 12 goals for and against. Section 5 finished with a 2-1-0 record with 20 goals for and 11 goals against and clinched third place in a very competitive tournament.
“We had a great team and it was a great privilege to coach these girls,” Coon Rapids head coach and Section 5 coach Jessica Christopherson said about the event.
Christopherson, a 2000 graduate of Coon Rapids, played in the classic while it was still in its infancy. “Back then it was only two teams, maroon and gold,” she said. “We actually stayed at the NSC dorms and had practices… it was a little bit different set up. I was all offense so I scored goals, but I didn’t play much defense – nowhere near the player that these kids are now.”
Of the 132 players taking part, 30 have signed to play NCAA Division I-level next season and another 84 have plans to play DIII next fall.
“This is so impressive for our game,” Christopherson said. “If you look at all of the kids that have participated in the last few years of this event, you would essentially see some of the top college players in the nation.”
While the players take the classic seriously, it’s more of a sense of pride since many committed to plans for post-high school play.
“This event is a showcase too, so the kids treat it like an all-star game – you see a lot of flashy players and big shots. It’s fun to watch,” Christopherson said. “And then, of course, scouts are trying to pick up players that might have flown under the radar and haven’t committed for some reason.”
Regular season enemies come together on one team for one final go-around to put a cap on the prep portion of their hockey playing careers. “As a coach, it’s great to see how the top players think the game and how easily they adapt to each other,” Christopherson said. “They effortlessly come up with some pretty impressive forechecking sequences and passing plays. Yes, we are there to coach, but we’re also there as fans of the game and of these kids.”
This is just one event in a series of off-season programs put together by the Minnesota Girls’ Hockey Coaches Association and Minnesota Hockey including the Minnesota NIT, Junior Festival, Development Camp, Russia Exchange and Premier Prep League to name a few.
Casey DeBoer, D/F, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony
Jane Hannula, F, Coon Rapids
Coaches: Tom Peart, Totino-Grace; Bill Schafhauser, Hill-Murray
Amber Ammann, D, Coon Rapids
Alex Barber-Verdick, D, Blaine
Carly Haskins, D, Andover
McKenzie Aguilar, F, Andover
Emilie Brigham, F, Anoka
Katie Burkey, F, Anoka
Coaches: Jess Christopherson, Coon Rapids; Jim Koltes, Champlin Park
Jason Olson is at email@example.com