Note: The Roseau tourney did not assign pool names. YHH named the pools A, B, C, and D to make the reading of the article easier to follow.
The past few years, Roseau’s January peewee A tourney has been the “tourney” in Northern Minnesota. It offers a small town hockey approach that lays out the welcome wagon of youth hockey teams. Teams go there to experience the atmosphere and play in the tourney. Winning, sometimes, can become secondary.
Just don’t tell the kids on the 16 teams playing there this year.
This year’s “tourney” offers a mix of teams from all over the state and usually one or more outstate teams. This year’s “tourney” is all Minnesota.
The top teams from District 15 (Brainerd AA and Moorhead AA) and top teams from District 16 (East Grand Forks A, Warroad A, and Roseau AA) are entered in the 16 team field. Duluth East AA and Hermantown AA from District 11 will play.
The seven northern teams are distributed in four pools playing nine teams from “southern Minnesota”. Actually, there are no “southern Minnesota” teams entered, there are only Twin City teams entered. The tourney is more an “old school versus new school” matchup. With two “old school” District 8 teams playing this year (Lakeville North and Lakeville South), the field becomes nine “old school” teams versus seven suburban teams; hockey chewers in boots versus iPhones and designer jeans.
The Twin Cities’ invasion is led by unbeaten and YHH ranked #1 Edina AA. The Hornets are pooled with Hermantown AA, Warroad A, and Minnetonka AA. Two northern teams will all get a chance to hand the Hornets their first defeat. YHH ranked #17 Minnetonka AA, Edina AA’s District 6 rival, will be lying in wait in the final pool game Saturday night.
There is a similar match-up developed in the #2 ranked Lakeville South pool. Lakeville South has been beaten, but has emerged as a top team and rival of the Edina AA team (the two teams have played each once this season in mid-November with the Cougars losing 3-2). Two northern teams, #11 ranked Moorhead AA and #6 ranked Duluth East AA will takes cracks at upending the Cougars in pool play and eliminating a potential #1 versus #2 showdown in the championship round. Lying in the weeds ready to strike like a “hougie” along the Lake of the Woods shore will be #18 ranked Eden Prairie AA from District 6, another Hornet rival with aspirations of knocking off the top teams.
Brainerd AA, ranked #9 this week, is in a mystery pool. It is a mystery pool because all four teams (Brainerd AA, East Grand Forks A, #15 Lakeville North AA, and #5 Osseo/Maple Grove AA) have shown potential and have struggled. Which team will show up?
The final pool has the host #39 ranked Roseau AA team playing #27 ranked Blaine AA, #33 ranked Stillwater AA and #26 ranked Chaska AA. People who handicaps horse races would call this pool “the field”; but don’t dismiss “the field”. At Roseau, one in the field often ends up playing in the championship games. Ask Chaska.