Jimmy D’s notes — Daily articles ahead of schedule

By Jim den Hollander



In the past week or so there has been a push to make daily items for Saukhockey.info. The play originally was to begin that on Sept. 1 but the timing of the start of the Dells Ducks 2021-22 Training Camp made it a good starting point.

Within the next week or so, the Lake Delton Ice Arena will once again become a busy hub for varsity teams with early captain’s practices and as of right now, some out of town teams are looking to the local arena as a home base for ice which once again is hard to find under restrictions in the state capital.

Lately, inspired by the success of this site, I have been inspired to bring back another website I dabbled with called Midwesthockey.info.

Again, the Midwest site started as a hobby, putting in random stories on primarily pro and junior hockey stories from around the Midwest Region. Recently, with my internet expertise, I somehow pushed a button that obliterated that site from view. I have asked a friend to help me restore that site which currently has over 700 items on it from previous seasons on it.

My goal was to also begin updates on that site as a sister to Saukhockey.info on Sept. 1 as well. Reviving it has proven more difficult than first thought though. I may have to begin a whole new site which would not be favored, but perhaps the lone alternative. I may also begin by putting those items on Saukhockey.info, at least for a while.

There is a Midwesthockey.info facebook page already in place as well.

In the next week or so, I hope to reach out to the youth programs for RWD, Baraboo T-Birds and Sauk Prairie Flyers and Monkeys, to create a pipeline that will allow me to run all of the youth results every week as well.

It would be nice to find some local photographers that might be attending Ducks, varsity high school or even youth hockey games to create more art for the stories this season. Unfortunately, all we can offer here is a photo credit for now, but that could change down the road.

Watch this space for more updates on both websites.


Hockey Talk Aug. 26 — Handball and hockey logos

By Jim den Hollander



The Dells Ducks wrapped up the fifth day of training camp at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday (Aug. 26, 2021) with some more dryland training including leg exercises, games, including some handball and working on the ice surface in its second day of icemaking.

Lake Delton Ice Arena owner, puts down some water on Wednesday with one of the first floods of the season. Yesterday the owner and players put down the first coat of white paint.

Enough ice was down in the early part of Thursday for Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby to apply the first coat of white paint with help from team players. A technical issue prevented them from doing a second coat later in the day, but that will be fixed quickly.

Thomas Howell talked on Thursday (Aug. 26, 2021) about how things are going through the first five days of training camp for the Dells at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. An ’04 from Gilmer, Texas, Howell is a returner, looking to take his defensive game to a new level this season as he takes on more responsibility on the Dells Ducks’ blue line.

Kirby and the players are expected to begin work on hand painting the lines and logos on Friday and the team has planned to spend the night at the rink Saturday overnight, giving them a chance to finish work on the ice surface. The reward could be a light skate on Sunday and regular on ice workouts will likely begin on Monday.

Ice rentals are already in place for Tuesday and the Ducks will take up a big chunk of the free ice as they finally prepare for an opponent with 10 days to get ready for a Detroit road-trip Aug. 10-12 to play a pair of games against the Detroit Fighting Irish sandwiching a game against the Metro Jets.

Ducks’ Head Coach Shaun Falzone continues to be pleased with the progress of his squad, now five days into training camp.

The team’s regular season home opener against the Rum River Mallards is now 22 days away.

Dells Ducks 2021-22 USPHL Schedule

By Jim den Hollander



After a long summer of waiting, the Dells Ducks are finally in town town and heading into the second half of the opening week of training camp.

The regular season will be underway soon with a trio of early exhibition matches to help get the team ready.

Below is a look at the Ducks regular season schedule while begins Sept. 17 and wraps up Feb. 27 with playoffs following in early March.

Hockey Talk Aug. 25 –Yoga, softball and pool party

By Jim den Hollander



Ducks moved into the middle of its first week and camp on Wednesday (Aug. 25) with some more dryland workouts, a team activity and a bit of social time.

Dells Ducks

Head Coach Shaun Falzone and assistant Mario Lachica put the team through the paces Wednesday morning with a tough workout before sending the team to yoga once again, allowing them to work on their aches and pains a bit.

After a softball game in the afternoon, team members once again assisted Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby with the first floods of the season as the floor has frozen in the arena and ice making is underway.

By the time players headed to a pool party at the Staybridge Hotel, a Ducks’ sponsor, there was a nice layer of ice on the floor. Coach Lachica said in his interview today the team is planning to spend 24-hours in the rink on Saturday in both a bonding event and a chance to put finishing touches on the ice surface, likely including line and logo painting.

Now 23 days from the opening game of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season, things are coming together nicely for the Ducks.

Happy Birthday Svyatoslav Kuchinsky

A late season addition in 2017 from the Kenai River Brown Bears, Svyatoslav Kuchinsky fit in nicely on the Dells Ducks roster, scoring three goals and collecting eight points in nine regular season games and adding another five points in six playoff encounters.

Svyatoslav Kuchinsky

Kuchinsky’s visit to Tier 3 was a brief one. He headed back to the NAHL the following season with the Austin Bruins before a midseason trade sent him east to the Northeast Generals for the next season and a half .

Kuchinsky currently is enrolled at Endicott College, near Boston. In his first two seasons there, he has played 28 games, contributing six goals and 17 points.

Happy Birthday Kuch!

Hockey Talk Aug. 24 –Ice making underway!

By Jim den Hollander



The Ducks are well into training camp now with 24 days to go before the season opener.

Dells Ducks

After a run to start things off, the team did a lot of competitive dryland games which helped with both conditioning and team bonding.

The best news of the day came from Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby who flipped the switch on the compressors to officially begin ice making at the rink a few days early. The temperature had already dropped substantially by noon and the process of flooding will likely begin tomorrow (August 25).

Kirby expected the players could test the ice for the first time on Monday (Aug. 30), giving the team a couple weeks to prepare for some exhibition tests in Detroit Sept. 10-12. The regular season will open a week later with the first two of eight straight home games to open the campaign, against the Rum River Mallards.

Hockey Talk – Aug. 23 — Ducks Camp Day 3

By Jim den Hollander



The Dells Ducks haven’t hit the ice yet, but the intensity level ratcheted up on Monday with the first of the tough workouts.

The team underwent some core workouts Monday (Aug. 23) morning then did a yoga workout after lunch, returning to the Lake Delton Ice Arena late in the day to clean the facility.

This season’s team should be bigger, in particular on the back end then last season and the returners are hungry to erase the memories of a rough 2020-21 campaign as soon as possible.

Along with workouts this week, the players will help Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby with the installation of the ice beginning in the second half of this week and stepping back on the ice midway through next week will be a welcome change for the players from their tough dryland workouts.

Happy Birthday – Ben Scruton

Ben Scruton played for the Ducks in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, appearing in 74 games all together including all 44 from his rookie campaign.

The Ducks want to wish Scruton, a Chicago native, a happy 18th Birthday today.

Ben Scruton (#22). Photo courtesy Gary Wiles.

Upcoming – Ducks and varsity hockey schedules

The Dells Ducks will kick off its regular season in just 25 days. In the next few days, watch this spot for a full home and away schedule for the Ducks as well as the four Sauk County varsity teams.

Teske looks ahead to second season with Auggies

By Jim den Hollander



It’s already tough for a young hockey player to make their debut on an NCAA Division 3 team. Throw in the delays caused from a pandemic and a team that ultimately was unable to play in a number of those games and it was a tough debut for Julianna Teske.

Julianna Teske

The 19-year-old Reedsburg native played much of her youth hockey with the Madison Capitols and moved to Warroad, Minnesota with her family during her high school tenure, appearing in the State tournament in all four seasons with the varsity girls Warriors.

This past season, Teske, known by most as ‘Julz,’ began her college career with the Augsburg Augies out of the Twin Cities.

She played in all 11 games for the Auggies and like the team, she improved with each contest.

The team dropped its first three before undergoing the postponement of cancellation of its next half dozen games.

After 19 days of delays, the Auggies celebrated its return to play with its closest result, going to overtime before dropping a 3-2 decision to Gustavus Adolphus on home ice Feb. 25.

The Auggies turned a corner though and put together a tie and two wins in its next four games and a 3-2-2 record the rest of the way.

The most lopsided win was a 7-3 win at Ed Saugestad Rink in the Augsburg Ice Arena and Teske scored her lone goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 in the first period.

In all Teske, an Exercise Science major at Augsburg compiled a goal on six shots and made her presence felt in her own end with six blocked shots. She sat just one minor penalty and finished the season with a -3 overall rating.

With a season under her belt, watch for Teske to be a bigger factor on both ends of the rink. The Auggies will begin preparation when school gets under way for a full 2021-22 season which begins with a scrimmage against the UW-River Falls Falcons at Hunt Arena in River Falls Oct. 23.

First regular season game will also be against the Falcons, on home ice Nov. 4 and the first Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Conference (MIAC) game will be at Tria Rink in St. Paul against the Hamline Pipers Nov. 1.

Anyone looking for a close opportunity to see Teske in action could make the relatively short trip to Stevens Point for a game Dec. 10, Green Bay for a game against St. Norbert the following day, or a pair of games in Winona, Minn., against St. Mary’s Feb. 11-12, 2022.

Hockey Talk Aug. 22 — Ducks Training Camp Day 2

By Jim den Hollander



Still easing into the tough physical part of the opening week of training camp, the Ducks ran some physical tests Sunday (Aug. 22) with a two-mile run as well as timed sessions of sit ups and pushups.

Ducks Training Camp – Day 2

When interviewed at the team’s tryouts/workout a few weeks ago, Jayden Tkaczuk, the team’s top scorer in 2020-21 said he had some lofty goals for the upcoming season with the single season scoring mark set by Aidan Verbeke (76 points in the team’s first season – 2011-12) in his sights.

The agile forward is clearly coming to camp in shape to make a big impression. He didn’t just post the fastest finish in the two-mile run, he blew the field away, his time of 12:35 getting him across the finish line 31 seconds in front of second year defender Thomas Howell while rookie Jack Kopfstein, the team’s youngest member rounded out the top three in 13:44.

The team’s senior member, Logan Dineen, the lone ’01, pushed the pace in the pushup competition with 53, three better than both William Carney and Jacob Cartland.

Howell led the way in sit ups with 54, two more than Bryce Jacobsen and Carney rounded out the top three with 44.

Sunday afternoon the team headed to Devil’s Lake in Baraboo for some hiking, primarily a bonding expedition.

The tough workouts will begin on Monday.

Happy Birthday Hackbarth

Blake Hackbarth turns 23 today. The 5’11” forward and native of Greenville, Wisconsin played his varsity hockey with the Neenah-Hortonville-Menasha Rockets, playing against the RWD varsity team at Lake Delton Ice Arena in his final season there – the only meeting between the two clubs.

After a season with the Decatur Blaze, Hackbarth played with the Ducks in 2017-18, contributing five assists and collecting 92 penalty minutes in 38 games. He wrapped up his junior hockey back in Decatur in 2018-19 with his best offensive season of the three, collecting 33 points.

After aging out, Hackbarth played a few games in 2019-20 with the Fox Cities Ice Dogs in the Great Lakes Hockey League, a nine-team league based in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Ducks wish Blake Hackbarth a Happy Birthday and good luck in the 2021-22 GLHL season.

all-WIAC highlights awesome freshman year for O’Connor

By Jim den Hollander



The jump from varsity hockey to NCAA Division 3 College is generally considered a big one but Jordan O’Connor couldn’t have made it look much easier.

Jordan O’Connor

After helping the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team to a 19-4-1 regular season and a berth in the Sectional semis, O’Connor had to wait a while, but collected a shutout in her first game with the UW-River Falls Women’s Hockey team, kicking out all 11 shots she faced in a 13-0 win against the Northland College Lumberjills on February 3, 2021.

O’Connor went on to play in four of the team’s eight regular season contests, posting a 3-1 record and allowing just five goals on 48 shots.

She took her game to a higher level in a short playoff run, playing in four of the team’s five games, leading the team to a two-game sweep of the UW-Steven’s Point Pointers and playing two of three games in a 2-1 edge in the Best of Three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship series.

O’Connor posted another shutout and stopped 64 of 70 shots faced. In all, she played 526 minutes, posting a 1.27 Goals Against Average and a Save Percentage of .919.

Her play was clearly noticed as O’Connor was named to the WIAC all-Conference team.

The only downside to her first season was how compact it was. Due to the pandemic issues, the season was whittled down to a month-long regular season followed by playoffs.

This fall, O’Connor returns for her sophomore season this fall with the first test an exhibition game at Hunt Arena in River Falls against the visiting Augsburg Auggies on Oct. 23. The regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 30 at Lake Forest, Ill. against the Foresters. The first six games will be on the road including the WIAC season opener Nov. 12 at Stevens Point. The first home game will be the following night with the Northland Lumberjills paying a visit.

After making a glorious debut in 2020-21, O’Connor will be trying to lead the Falcons to another Conference title and with NCAA Championship tournaments returning this season, her aim will go even higher.

Hockey Talk Aug. 21 — Ducks Training Camp — Day 1

By Jim den Hollander



The Dells Ducks officially opened the 2021-22 season Saturday (August 21) with what will certainly be remembered as their easiest day of the campaign.

Ducks open training Camp – Day 1

The opening day for Ducks players involved paperwork, orientation and an opening meeting with players, parents and billets on hard at Bobber’s, a primary sponsor for the Ducks once again.

Coach Falzone talks to the players. families and billets at Bobber’s on the opening day of training camp for the 2021-22 season.

Sunday will be the team’s first ‘workout’ with testing and a field trip to Devil’s Lake. The team will do strictly dryland training for first week or so, part of the training including helping Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby with installing the ice, beginning late in the first week. The process will take about a week with the rink ready for practices about Sept. 3.

Jack Kopfstein, a Dells Ducks rookie from California became the team’s first ‘Shoe Check’ victim of the season just minutes into the team’s first get together of the season at Bobber’s. Luckily his teammates helped him out on the chorus.

The Ducks will prepare for a trio of pre-season tests Sept. 10-12 in Detroit with the pair of games against the Detroit Fighting Irish and one against the Metro Jets from nearby Fraserville. The regular season will open the following weekend with a pair of home games against the Rum River Mallards from Isanti, Minn.

Seth Stoutenburg, a rookie with the Ducks in 2019-20 is back with the club for the 2021-22 season. The Roseville, Minn. native returns to the team as a third-year junior veteran.

Ducks Birthdays

A pair of former Dells Ducks celebrated birthdays today (August 21). David Kaplan turned 24 today and Cory Schwarz is also celebrating his 24th Birthday.

, David David Kaplan

Kaplan was an Assistant Captain and played a big part in the team’s USP3HL National Championship in the spring of 2016. He scored 25 goals and collected 46 points in 46 games that season before making the jump to Tier 2 with the Kenai River Brown Beas of the NAHL the following two seasons. In the fall of 2018, Kaplan moved to Superior, Wisconsin as a member of the Superior Yellowjackets in the NCAA Division 3 WIAC Division. He will return in September for his senior season with the Jackets.

Cory Schwarz

Schwarz began his junior career with the Chicago Cougars but moved to the Dells for the 2016-17 campaign, scoring 14 goals and collecting 29 points in 44 games with the Ducks. He later spent time in Wisconsin Rapids and back in Chicago the following season before moving on to Illinois State University where he just wrapped up a three-year college run this spring.

The Ducks want to wish a Happy Birthday to family members, David and Cory!