Posted at: 12/18/2012 11:23 PM
Updated at: 12/18/2012 11:24 PM
By: Dan Williamson
Hibbing, Minn. - Skating under the arching roof of the Hibbing Memorial Arena while wearing a Bluejackets sweater! As peewees, playing prep hockey for Hibbing/Chisholm is a wish of many on the Iron Range. The history, the tradition and the pride.
"It is every little kid's dream to play on the high school team," says Senior Goalie Tyler Carlson.
"Seeing 'Hibbing' on your jersey is a dream come true," says Senior Forward Josh Bestul.
"It means a lot to all the good players that have come from here," says Senior Forward Adam Johnson.
"Their goal is to wear the navy blue and put out a good effort for the alumni that have worn it before," says Co-Head Coach Grant Clafton.
Longtime Head Coach Mark DeCenzo has been joined by Grant Clafton as a co-coach and potential heir apparent. What they want is what the "Bluejacket Nation" wants and that is their first State Title since 1973.
"Without trying to upset anybody, I think Mark is one of the better coaches in the State and definitely up in Minnesota. The preparation that he puts in going into practices and the thought process that goes into his decision making, he puts a lot of time into it," says Clafton.
The offensive attack is lead by Adam Johnson, a senior standout who is a future UMD Bulldog. He would like to see Hibbing/Chisholm score more.
"We definitely have to start getting a lot more offense and we haven't scored many goals and it is kind of hard to win games when you don't score at all, so I would say that is the main thing that we have got to do. Also, work on our defensively play quite a bit too," says Johnson.
A surprisingly slow start at 3-5, yet there's high hopes that the Bluejacket's best is yet to come.
"We have a skilled team. We can play with anybody and we don't give up and we just have to go to work hard, finish games and win," says Carlson.
"Our schedule obviously doesn't get any easier, so it would be good to push us and if we play well like we should be, I think we have a good shot at getting back to the state tournament," says Bestul.
"You want to have wins and we go into every game hoping and expecting to win, but the reality is, we treat them like scrimmages because we want to get better by the end of the year and where you are at the end of the year is what matter's most," says Clafton.