Recovering from a three-win season
The team has a new head coach and will play their first season as a co-op team
by Julia Carle, Talon Staff Writers
Everybody loves a sequel, right? Not necessarily, especially if you were involved in the drama of the boys’ hockey season last year.
“To be completely honest, I am trying to forget last season,” said senior forward Michael Fabie. “All the problems we had last season with our head coach, our record and the unnecessary stress we had to go through as a program did not help. But these things make our upcoming season much more exciting because these problems will no longer be an issue.”
Fabie has played for the Redhawks varsity team since freshman year and is captain for the second straight year. Since he has been a member of the team for the past three years, he has seen the good and the bad-and the ugly- and is clearly looking for a great year with a new coach, Pat Griswold.
“Personally, I think [Pat Griswold] will do an excellent job as head coach this year,” Fabie said. “He runs good practices and has the right attitude to turn this program around.”
This new coach is not exactly new to Minnehaha Academy. Griswold graduated from MA in 1994. While at Minnehaha, he was an integral part of the squad, leading the Redhawks to the Tri-Metro championship, the last time the ‘Hawks have won the title.
He continued his hockey career at Augsburg College, where his senior year culminated in a trip to the MIAC championship due, in part, to his leadership on the ice. Most recently, Griswold was the mens’ assistant coach at Hamline University. Prior to that, he coached several years in the South Saint Paul youth hockey program.
After 13 years of coaching, coming into the MA hockey program, Griswold realizes that he needs to start rebuilding the program.
“We need to get bigger, stronger, and faster,” Griswold said. “Also, when things are getting tough, we just need to keep a positive attitude.”
Griswold said he prefers a game-by-game approach, and although last season was difficult, he has set his sights high.
“The team’s goal is always going to be to win a section championship,” said Griswold.
With several key players coming back this year, including Michael Fabie (14 goals and11 assists for 25 points), John Seibel (7-13-20), and Ryan Leo (4-13-17), they will be able to get started working toward that goal.
While Griswold sees those key players as a definite strength, he understands that along with strengths come weaknesses.
“Weaknesses exist, but weaknesses are more of an opportunity than anything else,” said Griswold.
Although the coach and players are excited about the new coaching change, everyone involved realizes that this will be a year of adjustment as well as rebuilding.
In addition to adjusting to a new coach and coaching philosophy, Minnehaha boys’ hockey players will have to adjust to new teammates.
This year, the team will be forming a co-op team with players from St. Agnes and St. Croix Lutheran high schools, much like the girls’ team has done for the past several years. After last year’s disappointing 3-22-0 season coupled with coaching chaos, the guys hope this year will bring new opportunities and a fresh start.
“I’m excited about the co-op,” said Griswold. “It adds twelve more players to the program and the other two schools have similar philosophies to ours.”
With a new coach and more players coming into the program, things are definitely looking up for the Redhawks. With a new optimism, the team hopes this rebuilding season will lead to bigger and better things for the program.