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Rogers grows, so does youth hockey

By frederick61, 08/13/14, 12:30PM CDT


Fon du lac goalie Tate Maurer covers up. Fon du Lac won the 2001 tourney

It is always amazing to watch hockey played at various levels and the interest shown by the parents, players, and fans in the game.  At the Rogers Ice Arena this past weekend, hockey fans just sat and watched a mix of teams that included 2001 and 2002 teams playing for hardware in Midwest Hockey's Summer Round-up tourney.  The field included local summer teams playing teams from Northern Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.  The team the fans respected most was the Legends, a team from Marshall MN.  Not that the Legends were world beaters, quite the opposite.  The fans knew the kids on that team would struggle because of lack of summer ice in the Marshall area; but they respected the players because they were there.

It sort of fit with the tourney organizers and reflected Rogers' attitudes.  A small town of less than 500 on the Minnesota map 30 years ago, Rogers is one of the fastest growing towns in Minnesota.  Today, the 14,000 or so residents maintain a level of courtesy and respect that often gets lost in bigger cities.  And hockey, despite the long reconstruction of Rogers' Main Street, has flourished.  Midwest Hockey's Summer Roundup tourney is a reflection of that courtesy and respect making their tourney special for the kids.

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A drive through Rogers Mn years ago meant stopping at the intersection of Highway 52 and 101.  Turn left and look quick, the town of less than 500 people would be soon passed.  In the thirty years since.  Rogers is now a city of 14,000. Interstate 94 now replaces Highway 52.  Today a visitor exits a 94 ramp and has a choice, take the 101 north bypass or drive straight ahead to Rogers’ Main Street (formerly 101 North).

It is startling to see a small town like Rogers suddenly became a suburb. The Twin Cities area grow fast over from 1960 to 2005.  Most suburbs have filled their boundaries and growth has slowed.  Rogers just started to grow later in the 1980’s.  And like most growing cities, just has slowly become part of the Twin Cities vernacular.  Today, they are part of the Twin Cities and have kept growing.

Hockey has taken root in Rogers.  The Rogers Youth Hockey Association was the driving force behind the Rogers Activity Center and Ice Arena being built 10 years ago.  Now the association is looking to add a second sheet.  The Arena has had a positive impact on the area.

This past weekend, Midwest Mustangs Hockey, a AAA program operating out of the Roger’s Arena, held their second summer tourney “The Summer Roundup”.  The tourney drew teams from North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  Eleven teams (6-boys 2001 and 5-boys 2002) showed up.  All the hotel rooms in the area were booked forcing some teams to stay as far away as Plymouth.

Ninety games were played mostly in the Rogers Arena (Monticello and Elk River rinks were also used).  In three short days (Friday through Sunday), the tourney directly added around $75,000 to the local economy.  Using a 6X factor for how long the new money circulates within a city like Rogers (new money turns six times before leaving a community), the economic impact is $450,000.  More importantly sitting in the stands next to a North Dakota fan who just leaned back and relaxed while watching a game, was his comment.  “I could watch a lot of hockey games in this arena.”

The tourney's championship games were played mid-day Sunday at the Rogers Arena.  After three pool games in the 2001 Division, Fon du Lac Jr Bears (Wisconsin) ended up beating the ND Blackhawks (North Dakota) 6-4 for the 2001 championship.  Third place went to the 01 Junior Moose beating the Flames.

Fon du Lac's Sam Vanderhoeven (#15) bats the hard rebound into the net to score the winning goal in the 2001 championship game

Fon du Lac WI celebrates winning the 2001 Tourney held last weekend at the Rogers' Ice Arena.

2001 Championship Game

The Bears and the Blackhawks put on a great game for the fans.  The two teams started the game locked up in a first period scoring dual.  Two minutes into the opening period, the Blackhawks’ Noah Roitman scored from the slot to put North Dakota up 1-0.  The two teams battled over the next five minutes.  No team could score until the Bears’ came up with a loose puck to tie the game 1-1 with seven to go in the period.  A Blackhawk power play goal two minutes later but the North Dakota ahead again 2-1 only to lose the lead a minute later.

The Bears scored on a nice diving goal.  A Bear forward picked up the puck on the right side of the Blackhawk zone.  Cutting across the crease, he was sent sprawling by the defense but managed to get a shot off to score while airborne.  The score tied the game 2-2.  Thirty seconds later, Fon du Lac scored a power play goal to take a 3-2 lead into the second period.

Halfway through the second, North Da kota drew two minor penalties creating a 5-on-3 Fon du Lac advantage.  Thirty seconds into the power play, the Bears scored again to go up 4-2.

The Blackhawks came back.  Fon du Lac’s defense, pressuring the Blackhawks in the North Dakota zone, gambled on holding the puck in the zone and lost.  It resulted in a nice 2-on-1 rush with the Blackhawks scoring to cut the lead to 4-3.

A rare shot captures this ND Blackhawk goal going through the Fon du Lac's goalie's 5-hole.

The winning goal came three minutes later.  The Bear’s defense hit a forward breaking left into the Blackhawk’s zone.  His shot on the goalie resulted in the puck popping up into the open right side of the crease where Sam Vanderhoeven batted the puck out mid-air for the winning goal.  Mitchel Huettl and Aaron Korpi got the assists.  The second period ended with Fon du Lac leading 5-3.

Early in the third period, North Dakota tied the game off a 2-on-1 rush beating the goalie with a good shot from the left side.  For the next two minutes, the Blackhawks pressured the Bears in the Fon du Lac zone until Bear’s defenseman Luke McKinch came up with the puck on the left side of the crease and backhanded a long pass to a Bear forward breaking at the Blackhawk blue line.  The Bear forward carried the puck to the net to score putting the Bears up 6-4.  The game ended 6-4.

Junior Moose celebrate scoring the opening goal in the 2002 Championship game against the Miracle Gold Black. The Gold came back to win 6-2.

Tourney notes:

Legends goalie, Shaid Shearer, had an outstanding tourney.  Facing numerous tough shots, Shearer made some big stops to keep the Legends (Marshall MN area) competitive. 

The Fon du Lac team show they could score and defend.  Corey Dias and Jack Sibel each had hat tricks and other multiple point games, but the team showed balance scoring.  Anchoring their team was a solid defensive corps.

In the 2002 Division, the Miracle Gold beat the Junior Moose 6-2 to win the championship.  Third place went to the Junior Chill (Onalaska WI).  The Chill beat the MN Flames.

The Jr Chill (Onolaska WI) beat Minnkota for third place in the 2002 tourney.

The North Dakota Blackhawks had only one tie and one loss in the summer season before losing to Fon du Lac in the 01 Championship game.  The Blackhawks offense was led by Campbell Cichosz.  Cichosz had one seven point game (1 goal/6 assists).  The Hawks’ Declan Young had a six point game (3 goals/3 assists).

The 2002 Miracle Gold Black team had a balanced scoring attack led by Nick Haugen, Braeden Lindsay, Tyler Bunes, and Michael Webster.  Webster had a five point game (3 goals/2 assists).

Host, Midwest Mustangs, 2002 team’s offense was led Tanner Wies and Seamus Corkery; Cole Avery and Gunnar Grams led the 2001 Mustangs.

The Midwest Mustangs will be holding 2015 tryouts September 13 at the Rogers arena.  Boys borne 2001 to 2007 are invited to tryout; girls U10/U12 tryouts will be held the same day.  Contact (email) is  or call 763-225-7320.

Cherry Berry and Boondocks Bar & Grille stepped forward to help the tourney organizers put on the tourney.  The tourney reflected a neighborly attitude associated with a small town (that is growing).

Legends' goalie Shaib Shearer's save causes Midwest Mustang Joe Manthey's shot to just miss the upper left corner (puck can be seen in this picture) in this 2001 Tourney game Sunday.

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