Mikey Berchild, Minnetonka
Player: Mikey Berchild
Team: Minnetonka Bantam AA
Berchild flashed as a first-year Bantam at this fall's Battle for the Blue Ox, where he finished tied for fifth in scoring with nine goals and 12 points while leading the Skippers to a 4-1 record and third-place finish in the tournament.
Berchild hardly slowed down during the regular season, showing off his bevy of skills on a young Skipper squad. Berchild's puck-handling, creativity, and patience made him a focal point of many opposing teams' defensive strategies. Rare is the player that can shift a game singlehandedly.
Mason Jenson, Rogers
Player: Mason Jenson
Team: Rogers Bantam AA
A highly productive groundhog-type (total compliment) player with a nose for the net, Jenson represents another wave of talented players coming through the Rogers system.
Jenson tallied four goals and nine points during last November's Blue Ox tournament, and ranked among the leaders at the traditionally loaded Edina Invite. In that event, Jenson racked up five goals and 13 points, showing off his passing ability as well as his ability to finish in a variety of ways.
While playing with an entertaining edge and unafraid of larger opponents, Jenson's play helped the Royals go 47-8-6 this season while scoring 409 goals as a team.
Cameron Kirschner, Wayzata
Player: Cameron Kirschner
Team: Wayzata Bantam AA
Kirschner's heavyweight slugfest with Lakeville South's Jackson Ernst during the Battle for the Blue Ox will go down as one of the best player-on-player matchups in the tournament's history, with Kirschner matching Ernst goal-for-goal until the very end.
Kirschner netted six goals in four Blue Ox games, with each tally providing evidence that the Trojan forward has one of the most diverse skill sets in the state. Kirschner's motor never stops, he can bully opposing skaters off the puck, and his shot is a heat-seeking missile that rarely misses its target.
Perhaps the most underrated talent in Kirschner's arsenal is his puck pursuance. Watch Kirschner follow the puck into the offensive zone, only to be gathered by an opposing defender. Typically, a forechecking forward will make one strong play for the puck, lose steam and simply flail their stick as the defender finds a hint of space and escapes. Not Kirschner. His feet never stop moving, and he's not conserving his energy while hoping for a breakaway or an offensive opportunity. If the first three steps are what separate players at the next level, Kirschner has already aced that category.
Sam Laurila, Moorhead
Player: Sam Laurila
Team: Moorhead Bantam AA
Even on a team filled with tantalizing talent, Laurila stands out from the blueline.
The 2021 Blue Ox Most Valuable Player tallied five goals and 13 points in just four tournament games, delighting those who viewed Spud games with his end-to-end rushes, his poise at the top of the power play, his ability to find soft spots on the ice, and fire shots from anywhere.
Laurila played a massive role in guiding the Spuds to a 46-4-5 record and the Bantam AA state championship in Baudette, recording four goals and 13 points in six postseason contests.
For his efforts during the season, Laurila earned an invitation to this spring's tryout for next year's United States National Team Development Program's Under-17 squad.
Mason Moe, Eden Prairie
Player: Mason Moe
Team: Eden Prairie Bantam AA
A smooth, skilled center who wouldn't have looked out of play on most high school teams, Moe's skating sets him apart from so many others in his age group.
Moe helped guide Eden Prairie to the Bantam AA state finals after winning an elimination game in Regions, using his myriad skills and smarts to register seven points during Region play and another three points during the Bantam AA State Tournament. A two-year contributor at the Bantam AA level, Moe should look right at home next season at the high school level.
Moe's play helped the Eagles to a 32-14-6 record this season.
2021 Player of the Year - Teddy Townsend
2014 Player of the Year Casey Mittelstadt (with EP coach Tom Gerdes)