Remember when phones had a cord?
When phones had to be juiced with minutes paid on-the-go by the owner?
When text messages cost 10 cents apiece?
Oh, how far we've come.
While the methods of reaching out to prospective high school hockey recruits have changed immeasurably, the pitches from various programs haven't wandered too far from their origins. Schools still attempt to sell prep players on fit, playing time, campus life, program success, and more.
With the contact period for next year's juniors on the horizon for June 15, YHH has highlighted 25 players that could receive a call or text from NCAA programs. Obviously, the number will be higher than 25, but editorially you have to draw the line somewhere.
In the same vein as January's article featuring male players we believed would be early calls for colleges, this article is more of an educated guess than anything set in stone.
The 10 players selected to have their own information capsules were chosen to represent multiple positions, regions, and both Class A and Class AA.
Sedona Blair, Holy Family Catholic
Holy Family Catholic
Blair impressed as a seventh-grader for the now-defunct Holy Family Catholic/Waconia co-op and hasn’t slowed down since.
The Minnetonka Youth Hockey Association product posted sparkling numbers in the highly competitive Minnesota Hockey High Performance Tier I Fall League in 2019, earning a goal-against-average of 1.36 and a .927 save percentage.
This past season, Blair went 9-5-2 for the Fire, posting a 1.59 GAA and save percentage of .939 in addition to five shutouts. Blair made 25 or more saves in eight of her 16 games, leading the Fire to the Class AA, Section 2 finals before bowing out in a 4-1 loss to Minnetonka.
Boerger began her rise on the recruiting scene with a three-goal, eight-point postseason performance during her freshman season in the 2019-2020 campaign, helping Andover capture its first state championship in either boys or girls hockey.
The swift-skating Boerger teamed with Division I signees Gabby Krause (Minnesota Duluth) and Peyton Hemp (Minnesota) on the Huskies’ top line last season, racking up 27 goals and 57 points for an average of 2.48 points-per-game.
With Krause and Hemp off to college hockey, Boerger should take on an even more prominent offensive role next season.
JuliAnna and Jenessa Gazdik
A pair of players that we’re counting as one, the Gazdik twins helped guide the Stars to the Class A State Tournament in their first season of MSHSL competition, eventually taking home runner-up honors after falling in overtime to Proctor-Hermantown.
Jenessa finished second on the team in scoring with nine goals and 29 points, while JuliAnna finished fourth among Stars skaters with eight goals and 27 points. The defenders are particularly effective on the power play, with Jenessa totaling 10 assists with the player advantage and JuliAnna recording seven power-play helpers.
With mobile defenders coveted by college programs, the Gazdik twins should field their fair share of pitches come June 15.
Jenessa Gazdik, Gentry Academy
It feels as though we’ve been banging the table for Hansen all year, and it won’t stop with recruiting season just around the corner.
A starter since her eighth-grade season in 2018-2019, Hansen has totaled nearly 3,700 minutes between the pipes for the Bengals, including a total of 9:48:55 during the shortened 2020-2021 season. Despite not much of a break throughout the year, Hansen finished with a record of 11-8 while recording a 2.91 GAA and .924 save percentage while facing an average of approximately 32 shots per game.
In perhaps one of the best individual performances of the 2020-2021 season, Hansen earned a 43-save shutout of Northwest Suburban Conference rival and perennial top-10 team Maple Grove. As if that weren’t enough, Hansen assisted on the lone goal of the Bengals’ 1-0 victory.
As an eighth-grader, Hause appeared in 23 games and morphed into a bonafide contributor as a freshman, tallying six goals and 16 points for the Pioneers in a Class AA State Tournament run during the 2019-2020 season. In 2020-2021, Hause again totaled 16 points, finishing tied for the team-lead in assists on the season with 12 as the Pioneers advanced to the Section 4AA finals before losing to Stillwater.
A rangy defender that can play both sides of the blueline, Hause also lists center on one of her recruiting profiles, indicating a versatility that could make her a hot commodity among college programs.
After totaling 55 points in 50 games in two seasons with the East Grand Forks program, Johnson exploded for 21 goals and 41 points for the Warriors last season, playing a key role as the Section 8A power appeared in its sixth consecutive state tournament. Johnson also displayed consistency during last season, notching 14 multi-point games in 22 games played.
Like Andover’s Ella Boerger mentioned above, Johnson will shoulder even more of the Warriors’ scoring responsibility in 2021-2022 with the graduation of high-flying seniors Geno Hendrickson and Karlie Meeker.
Hailey Hansen will enter her fourth season as Blaine's starting goaltender in 2021-2022.
While Maras’s 2020-2021 season totals of seven goals and 16 points may not seem like earth-shattering numbers, there’s something to be said about the situations in which those goals and assists are accumulated.
Maras assisted on the game-winning goal in the Cardinals’ 2-1 Class AA, Section 8 quarterfinal win over the Buffalo, then followed that performance by scoring both of Alexandria’s goals in a thrilling 2-1 upset victory over top-seeded Roseau in the section title game.
Maras registered 11 goals and 25 points in her freshman season for the Cardinals.
O’Hara is a critical piece of a talented 2023 class at Centennial, and was second on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 37 points before a positive COVID-19 test result forced the Cougars to withdraw from the Class AA State Tournament.
With totals of seven and 20 points in her eighth-grade and freshman seasons, respectively, O’Hara continues to improve with each passing season. The Cougars return the bulk of last season’s 16-6 roster, including their top three leading scorers, and O’Hara should play a significant role on a team that could make another deep postseason run.
Skating with Lindzi Avar and Kendra Distad, Sadura scored 20 goals and added 17 assists during the 2020-2021 season, building on a strong postseason season during last year’s freshman campaign. In the Skippers’ run to a third-place finish at the Class AA State Tournament, Sadura introduced herself to the world outside the Lake Conference with three goals and seven points in six playoff games.
A highly skilled forward with a lethal shot, Sadura racked up 26 goals and 39 points in 18 games during Minnesota Hockey’s HP Tier I Fall League in 2019 before embarking on a 10-goal, 27-point freshman season for the Skippers.
If the trio of Sadura, Avar, and Distad stay together next season, they’ll challenge the rest of the state for the title of “Best Forward Line.”
Sajevic led the Stars with 29 goals and 45 points during the program’s inaugural MSHSL season, and took full advantage of the state’s biggest stage during the Class A State Tournament, scoring six goals in three state tourney games.
Held without a point in just two games last year, Sajevic capped the 2020-2021 season with a streak of 11 straight games with at least one goal.
Fun to watch in transition and on the power play, Sajevic has skill in spades and one of the best shots in the state, regardless of class or gender.
Grace Sadura, Minnetonka
Stella Retrum, Maple Grove
|Player||Position||2020-2021 Team||2020-2021 Stats|
|Haley Eikos||Defense||Osseo/Park Center||3G-4A-7P|
|Maddy Helmstetter||Forward||Holy Family Catholic||5G-14A-19P|
|Sydney Leonard||Forward||Mound Westonka||19G-16A-35P|
|Marie Moran||Forward||Apple Valley||13G-17A-30P|
|Stella Retrum||Forward||Maple Grove||8G-11A-19P|
|Courtney Stagman||Goaltender||Andover||16-1/0.53 GAA/.950 SV%/10 SO|
|Kamryn Van Batavia||Forward||Luverne||47G-40A-87P|
Sydney Leonard, Mound Westonka