Hockey Talk Sept. 7 — Happy Birthday Pawlak

By Jim den Hollander


The Labor Day behind them, it’s game on now for the Dells Ducks heading into the USPHL Premier Midwest-West season.

The first two weeks of camp were geared primarily toward conditioning and getting fit for the season. After Labor Day, the team headed into it’s first game week, albeit exhibition contests.

It will be a busy weekend, beginning with two games on Friday, then one each on Saturday and Sunday. That will give the Ducks a taste of competition ahead of their first regular season contests the following weekend against the Rum River Mallards.

It was interesting to see the team in practice on Tuesday with a little more jump in their step, the carrot being the games to be played on the weekend.

Unfortunately, there will be no Hockey TV available for this weekend’s contest. The various Ducks’ facebook pages and this website will be the place to check out for details on all four games.

Happy Birthday – Derek Pawlak

Derek Pawlak played three full seasons with the RWD Cheavers varsity team from the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2019.

Derek Pawlak

Pawlak played 71 games with the Cheavers and scored 70 goals, the highest total amassed by anyone since the RWD team was formed in 2010-11. He also notched 52 assists for a total of 122 points, second best total, behind only the 164 of Dylan Brown.

Pawlak turns 26 today. and the RWD program would like to wish Pawlak a Happy Birthday.

Derek Pawlak


Thunderbirds to open at home Nov. 23

By Jim den Hollander


The Baraboo Thunderbirds are looking to approach the .500 plateau this season for the first time since 2015-16 and will get its regular season started on Nov. 23.

The team’s first of 22 scheduled contests will take place at Pierce Park Pavilion against the visiting Blackhawks. The Thunderbirds will also play the Middleton Cardinals on home ice four days later before opening the Badger West season with a trip to RACA to face its biggest rival, the RWD Cheavers on Dec. 7.

The conference schedule is more front loaded this season than it normally is and the Thunderbirds will play four of it’s 10-confrence matches with its first test against the Edgewood Crusaders coming on home ice Dec. 11, followed by a third straight conference game, at SPARC against the Sauk Prairie Eagles Dec. 11.

The Thunderbirds will take part in a four-team tournament for a second straight year, hosted by the Arrowhead Warhawks, starting Dec. 29-30. The regular season is scheduled to wrap up on Feb. 10, 2022 at the Waupun Community Center against the Waupun Warriors

Below is a look at the Baraboo Thunderbirds varsity regular season schedule as printed on the school’s athletic website. Games and times are subject to change.

Note – As this is written, there are no return conference matches scheduled against Oregon or Edgewood, so there is likely two more conference games to be added.

Baraboo Thunderbirds 2021-22 Varsity Schedule

Confeence games in bold

Nov. 23 – 7 p.m. vs. Viroqua Blackhawks @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Nov. 27 – 7 p.m. vs. Middleton Cardinals @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 7 – vs. RWD Cheavers @ RACA

Dec. 11 – vs. Edgewood Crusaders @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 14 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles @ SPARC

Dec. 16 – vs. Janesville Bluebirds @ Janesville Ice Skating Center

Dec. 18 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 21 – vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers @ Onalaska Omni Center

Dec. 29-30 – Arrowhead Warhawks Quadrangular @

Jan. 4, 2022 – vs. Black River Falls Tigers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 8 vs. Oregon Panthers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 11 – vs. RWD Cheavers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 13 – vs. McFarland Spartans @ McFarland Community Ice Center

Jan. 15 – BADGER CHALLENGE vs. Badger East opponent @ TBA

Jan. 25 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 28 – vs. Mosinee Indians @ Pierce Park Pavilion  

Feb. 1 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers @ State Line Ice & Community Expo (SLICE)

Feb. 8 – vs. Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Feb. 10 – vs. Waupun Warriors @ Waupun Community Center

Mast helps TW 16U to three win weekend

By Jim den Hollander


After a loss and tie against the Windy City Storm the previous weekend, Team Wisconsin 16U opened play at a three-game weekend near St. Louis with a 5-2 edge against the same squad.

That win on Saturday (Sept. 4) boosted the TW squad to a perfect weekend as they followed it up with a 6-3 doubling of the Phoenix Junior Coyotes and then wrapped it up with a 2-1 win on Labor Day against Carshield U-16s.

Included on the Team Wisconsin 16U roster is Luke Mast, a junior forward with the Sauk Prairie Eagles who scored his first points of the campaign for the team, wrapping up the weekend with a goal and two assists and contributing in each game.

In the first contest, TW avenged its earlier matches with the Storm, scoring first and never trailing in the contest.

Jack McGregor (Freshman – University School of Milwaukee Wildcats) and Jack Bowe (Chippewa Falls Cardinals) both scored a pair of goals, McGregor adding an assist. Kyle Rohrer (Sophomore — Oregon Panthers) chipped in a goal and assist and Mast set up Bowe’s game opening marker.

Against the Coyotes, teams were even at 3-3 early in the final period before McGregor put TW in front to stay at the 4:54 mark and the Wisconsin crew notched a pair of insurance goals in the final five minutes.

Adam Timm (Sophomore – Rice Lake Warriors) fired a pair in the win with other TW goals added by Reece Cordray (Verona Wildcats); Bowe and Brady Engelkes (Middleton Cardinals). Mast picked up an assist on the Cordray goal that put TW up 3-1 in the middle period.

The second game was scoreless after a period and Mast finally got the TW on the board with his first TW goal 6:31 from the end of the middle frame.

That lead was padded by a goal from Bowe early in the third and Hayden Rising (Sophomore – St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers) was beaten just once in the second half of the game, just past the halfway mark of the third period. Devin Schutt (Sophomore – Arrowhead Warhawks) kicked out all 18 shots he faced in the first half for TW.

Generally, TW has played in high school regulation periods – 17 minutes in length, but they were stretched out a bit on this weekend playing 20-minute frames.

All games were played at the Centene Community Ice Center, Maryland Heights, MO.

The wins boosted the team’s overall record to 5-2-1. Next weekend the team will travel to Shattuck St. Mary’s in Fairbault, Minn. For a pair of games, Saturday, and Sunday.

Luke Mast’s first goal with Team Wisconsin put the team up 1-0 in the second period against Carshield at the Centene Community Ice Center on Labor Day.

Hockey Talk Sept. 6 — Youth team registrations

By Jim den Hollander


The Dells Ducks wrapped up week two of the pre-season training camp and head into the team’s first game week of the season with a weekend road trip to Detroit on the near horizon.

The team enjoyed a light weekend with a four-team three-on-three tournament Saturday that including Assistant Coach Mario Lachica.

The winning team was ‘Kopfstein’s Ketchup’ which including captain Jack Kopfstein, Adam Chaudhri, Jake Cartland, Mason Loughlin, and goaltender Jadon Mammon.

Kopfstein’s Ketchup

After a day off Sunday, the team returned to practice today (Sept. 6) to begin preparation for this weekend’s games. More on that will appear in this space tomorrow.

Team members have spent time familiarizing with the local communities and several were in attendance at the Wisconsin Dells High School Chiefs’ varsity football game on Friday.

Hopefully, the success of the Chiefs, who have opened the season at 3-0, — for sure its best start in probably a decade — will rub off on the Ducks players when their own regular season opens on home ice Sept. 17.

Ducks players took in the Wisconsin Dells High School football and cheered the locals on to a 41-6 win against the Wautoma Hornets at WDHS Friday night.

High School and youth teams on the ice

Local varsity hockey teams are taking advantage with the early ice at Lake Delton Ice Arena with captain’s practices and workouts beginning as early as Tuesday (Sept. 7).

The RWD Cheavers have scheduled ice at the local rink for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. It’s unclear how many will be in attendance as Head Coach Neil Mattson has made it clear to his players any fall sports they are taking part in should take precedence. Baraboo Thunderbirds and the Badger Lightning generally are on the ice early as well and the ice is scheduled to be in at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) later this month.

Local youth hockey organizations are also expected to fill up the schedule with some pre-season on ice sessions in Lake Delton in the days ahead.

Youth Hockey Registration

All three area youth organizations have online registration underway. Listed below are a few details on each organization along with some online information.

Sauk Prairie – All of this is taken from the organization’s website and could be subject to change. Full details and contact information is available at

Players must be registered online with USA hockey at before registering with the Flyers. The organization also has online registration available and will have a walk-in registration at SPARC on Sept. 14 from 6-8 p.m.

Sept. 14 will also be the night for equipment fitting and distribution for both 6U (6-7 p.m.) and 8U (7-8 p.m.) skaters.

Fees for registration will go up on Oct. 4 and the team has Pre-Season clinics beginning on Sept. 27.

Baraboo – Baraboo Youth Hockey has had online registration open since Aug. 16 at First year skaters will have ice fees waived and equipment provided. Gear handouts for the youth players will take place on Friday (Sept. 10) from 5:30-8 p.m. and again Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Sept. 15 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Baraboo is planning to have all registration done online this season and the website has some email contacts for anyone with questions.

RWD – The Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells organization also has online registration on already and anyone who registers by Wednesday (Sept. 8) will get a discount. More information and online registration is available at

In person registration will be available on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Lake Delton Ice Arena and Saturday from Noon until 2 p.m. at RACA in Reedsburg.

Happy Belated Birthday Jo-Jo

Currently the first and only Austrian player to play for the Dells Ducks, Johannes (Jo-Jo) Leitner helped patrol the Ducks’ blue line in 2013-14. A rugged blue liner, Leitner played 14 games as an 18-year-old with the Ducks collecting a goal and assist. He returned the USA to play with the Wilkes-Barre Miners in the NA3HL the following season and played his aging out season with the Ogden Mustangs in the Western States Hockey League in 2015-16.

Johannes Leitner

After returning to his home country, Leitner played some pro hockey with the Vienna Capitals Silver squad in 2017-18.

A physical defensive defenseman, Leitner made contributions that didn’t show up on a game sheet, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t an extremely valuable player with a great hockey attitude.

Leitner turned 26 on Saturday (Sept. 4). and the Dells Ducks want to wish Jo-Jo a Happy Birthday.