U10A hockey can be some of the most exciting hockey you will find in Minnesota. ”A” players at the 10 year old level have usually been skating competitively since Kindergarten. Most play some sort of year-round hockey (AAA, 3v3, Spring/Summer, etc) and almost all consider hockey their #1 sport. My favorite part of U10 hockey is the variety of associations that step into the limelight. In Boys, it’s Edina, Duluth East, Wayzata, Moorhead, and White Bear Lake. In Girls, teams show up from all over the map: Farmington, Brainerd, Cottage Grove, Mound Westonka, Forest Lake, and Highland Central.
Heading into the season, there were two clear cut favorites, Forest Lake and Stillwater…both from District 2. Stillwater won the Cake Eater Classic in Edina to start the year with a 3-1 win over Wayzata. Forest Lake won multiple tournaments this year including the All American Girls tournament at the Super Rink in Blaine. The Rangers won five tournaments all totaled.
Traditional powers Edina and White Bear Lake didn’t look to be a factor this year. The Bears lost almost their entire team from the year before and Edina fielded two evenly balanced teams. Both Hornet teams did extremely well. The younger Green team won the coveted Duluth Tournament in January and the White team won the year end District Tournament to put a nice bow on their successful season.
There were also some pleasant surprises this year. From District 15, Brainerd showed that girls hockey is just as strong as their up and coming boys program. The Warriors won a ton of hardware this year including a big tourney win in Fargo in early January. Another surprise was the play of the Highland Central Capitals. Wow, these girls really competed hard all season. Lead by YHH Wiz Wyatt Player of the Year Cece Ziegler, the Caps won a ton of games and finished high in a lot of tournaments…proving they were more than just a one girl team.
We saw a lot of games at this level this year and so many great players. What stood out to us more than any level was the amount of improvement teams made from November to March. Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Andover, and Eagan are four teams that really stood out as improved over the course of the year. The Trojans were the only team to beat Brainerd this year…EP started slow but were nearly unbeatable down the stretch…Andover finished their season strong as the fourth best team in Minnesota and victors of the always tough District 10 playoff and Eagan was a team lead by Player of the Year Finalist, Julia Barger that just continued to gel – they won the District 8 tournament in mid March.
Next year should be another great season of Girls hockey in Minnesota. Each association seems to be getting stronger and stronger in numbers and the amount of off-season works continues to grow and parallel the boys. We suspect there will be some traditional powers to be back on top…but at this point no one knows who the next Highland or the next Brainerd will be….tune in come November.