Jimmy D’s notes — June plans

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

June 1 is probably about as far from the hockey seaon that you can get in Sauk County.

If local arenas are being used at all it is for indoor activities, likely related to fairs and carnivals…at least in Reedsburg.

For Saukhockey.info, hockey will still be included with a couple projects and some looks back.

Over the past month and with the great assistance of statistics kept on wisconsinprephockey.net, I have begun compiling some all time statistics.

I wrapped up the first part for RWD — tracing results from every game and compiling points and penalty minutes for every player that suited up for the Cheavers, since the start of the Reedsburg-Wisconsin Dells-Mauston Co-operative effort in 2010-11.

Currently I am working on the same for Baraboo/Portage and over the month I will continue with the Sauk Prairie Eagles and Badger Lightning.

I have something similar for the Dells Ducks, but need to add the 2020-21 stats to it. I will do a brief look at the overall stats when I complete each team, but the primary purpose of this is background information which will come in handy everytime RWD, Baraboo/Portage or Sauk Prairie Eagles come up against each other.

I am going to go back and do conference histories and Playoff histories for each team over the course of the summer.

The RWD hockey team has some summertime activity planned including something next weekend which will keep them in the headlines. I am trying to find out more about the other teams as well.

Also, I want to go back and do season reviews on each team as well as the junior Ducks and also take a look a the short freshman college seasons for Jordan O’Connor, goaltender at UW-Superior Yellow Jackets and Kaylee Engel from the Northland College Lumberjills in the WIAC along with Julianna Teske of the Augsburg Auggies in the MIAC.

I have been wanting to do either a weekly video show or podcast and plan to set it up with something once a month or more frequently if I have material, in the off season months and then weekly starting in September.

Other stories will surely come up each week during the summer months. If anyone knows of something coming up related to hockey, I would be glad to include coverage of it. I can be reached a jim@dellsduckshockey.com or text 608-393-2876.

Also, still looking for someone that might be interested in helping with this website/facebook page and a possible partnership. I would really like to find someone that is adept, or at least interested in advertising and hopefully, website design.

More stories will be rolling out soon.

 

Sauk players busy as off season teams start up

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
It is surprising how long the hockey season is, even at the local level.
This has been a crazy couple years for everything and as hockey fans, we have gone from not being able to watch our heroes on television to seasons ending at crazy times. We should be halfway through the opening round of the opening round of the post season – at least in a normal year we would be. Instead, we are about a month from the start of a post season that will carry us into July.
If the 2021-22 regular season begins on a normal schedule, the teams playing in the Stanley Cup will have 5-6 weeks off before returning for training camps for what will be another long season with a break in February 2022 for the Winter Olympics which NHL players will be participating in.
Locally, the final event was Ice Wars, a unique event at Lake Delton Ice Arena that brought together players from across the Midwest as well as a solid contingent of locals.
Aaron Kirby, owner of Lake Delton Ice was the organizer of the event that saw individuals at the squirt and peewee level signing up. However, several others have continued playing, with the Blue Devils AAA squad, out of Tomah, the Wisconsin Junior Stars out of the Madison area and the Janesville Jr. Jets.
Local players also played in the peewee Kohlman Cup tournaments recently, representing WAHA Region 4.
Articles on all of these events will appear in this space over the next few week as well as updates on the Dells Ducks junior hockey team, and some looks back at the 2020-21 varsity seasons for RWD, Baraboo/Portage, Sauk Prairie Eagles and the Badger Lightning, as well as a look back on the college seasons for local players.
Also, a summer of research and compilation will see much more statistical information and points of interest for the varsity and junior teams in the season ahead.
I recently made a connection that should see my varsity stuff get a lot more views and I am excited about that.
This past season I took saukhockey.info to a new level and it became recognized across the county. I am looking forward to the off season allowing me to get set for this fall a more organized and wider blanket coverage on all hockey in Sauk.
I am also dusting off another website/facebook page I had sort of shelved to dedicate more time to Sauk Hockey so it should be a fun summer.

Engel and O’Connor faceoff tonight

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Two area hockey players will make their official NCAA D3 hockey debut tonight when the Northland Lumberjills make the trip to River Falls to play UW-River Falls Falcons.

Kaylee Engel, a freshman at Northlands is a product of Reedsburg Polars and Badger Lightning hockey programs locally and is the first area player in several years to play at the college level.

After a long delay, the Lumberjills along with the other four Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (WIAC) teams begin their respective eight-game regular seasons tonight. There was one tune-up match played last week at UW-Superior last weekend, a 5-1 win for the Yellowjackets.

The Lumberjills will play home and away games against each of its four conference rivals and all five teams are slated to qualify for post season action.

Jordan O’Connor

Meanwhile, Jordan O’Connor who won 21 games in goal with the Sauk Prairie varsity Eagles last season could be in goal for the Falcons tonight. She is one of two freshman keepers on the team and there is also a junior goaltender. Who will be in goal is likely a game time decision.

Locals interested in watching the match can view it on this link — https://uwrfsports.com/watch/?Live=388&type=Live

Puck drop tonight is at 7:05 p.m. at Hunt Arena in River Falls.

The other WIAC opener tonight will see UW-Eau Claire Blugolds playing host to the Stevens Point Pointers at 7 p.m.

The Lumberjills and Falcons will return to Ashland for the return match on Friday, starting at 7 p.m. at Bay Area Civic Center.

Local players may still play at WIAC and MIAC schools

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced in a press release earlier this week that its Council of Chancellors voted to resume its NCAA Division 3 Winter Athletics schedule on February 1, dependent on the securing of ongoing COVID-19 testing.

Kaylee Engel was captain of the Badger Lightning last season

That is welcome news for athletes with Sauk County connections looking to get their respective college hockey careers underway.

Kaylee Engel, captain of the Badger Lightning varsity girl’s hockey team will begin her first season with the Northland College Lumberjills  while Jordan O’Connor who helped the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity team reach the Sectional semi-finals last will suit up for the UW-River Falls Falcons.

Two other local athletes will play in the MIAC which as of today has yet to make an announcement on its regular season.

Sebastian Frank began his high school run with RWD as a student at Wisconsin Dells High School, but he was ultimately signed by the Forest Lake Lakers who transformed into the Minnesota Mullets of the United States Premier Hockey League. He wore a ‘C’ on his jersey last season as well and began his next chapter at Gustavus Adolphus as a member of the ‘Gusties’ this past Fall.

Jordan O’Connor makes a stop against Waunakee Warriors in Badger North Conference play in 2019-20.

Also, former Reedsburg area resident, Julianna Teske who played youth hockey with the Madison Capitols organization, moved with her family to Warroad, Minnesota where she played four years of high school hockey with the Warriors, putting up 26 goals and 71 points. Teske will begin her college hockey career with the Augsburg University Auggies.

The MIAC Conference did  announce a start to the winter season but did issue a press release on December 15 announcing it would reconvene in January to investigate and hopefully, confirm plans for winter sports seasons, including both Men’s and Women’s hockey.

 

 

Jimmy D’s Notes — Rising from slumber and on with the season

By Jim den Hollander

Publisher/Editor

Saukhockey.info

I thought 2020 was a dreadfully tough year and couldn’t possibly get worse. October spiked the graph to some newly discovered high points though.

After months of mostly hearing and reading about a condition that seemed mostly far away, it was suddenly on my doorstep and banging to get in. It appears I personally staved it off for now, but it is at least a little scary when you know people who have been struck, no matter how minor the affliction.

Its not like I was so busy battling that I couldn’t add anything, but I think I might have gone through a bit of a hockey depression. However, the good news is I am back now and raring to go again…just in time.

The season is now upon us at every level. The ice is either in, or going in, at all four Sauk County facilities (Lake Delton Ice Arena, Reedsburg Area Community Arena, Pierce Park Pavillion and Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center). The junior team, after a rough start on and off the ice, is ready to get on with the season, the four Sauk County varsity hockey teams are in captains practices and now the local youth outfits are also hitting the ice.

A little further behind are the five locals looking to start their respective NCAA Tier 3 campaigns — freshmen Kaylee Engel at Northland Lumberjills; Jordan O’Connor at UW-River Falls Falcons and Mike Lennon, Assistant Coach of the Northland Lumberjacks from the WIAC Conference along with freshmen Julianna Teske with the Augsburg Auggies and Sebastian Frank of Gustavus Adolphus Gusties — both in the MIAC Conference. Both NCAA Tier 3 Colleges announced recently they have delayed the start of their respective seasons until January.

There are a number of Dells Ducks graduates who will also be entering College seasons and at least five have already kicked off their respective seasons on European professional teams.

Most teams have yet to release updated schedules but check here for details on the local hockey scene and the locals playing abroad.

Back from my brief hiatus, it is on with the show now. The regular season awaits.

Engel surprised by coaches leaving Northland College

With files from Northland College.

When Kaylee Engel announced she would be attending Northland College in the fall, Head Coach Kelly Rider played a big part in that decision.

A recent announcement though from the College has Rider leaving the program.

 Kelly Rider has stepped down from her position as the head coach of the women’s hockey program at Northland College to pursue other professional opportunities.

Rider was the first ever women’s hockey coach at Northland.  She started the program in 2015 and recently saw her original recruiting class graduate this past season.  In her second year in charge, Rider’s program beat Adrian College who was ranked #2 in the country and coming off of an appearance in the NCAA National Championship.  Rider improved the program year after year and in 2019 guided the Jills in their inaugural season into the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is regularly regarded as one of the top hockey conferences in the country. 

“It’s been an honor to be part of the building of Jills hockey with all of our players the past 5 years,” said Rider.  “I’m proud of each player’s individual growth on and off the ice and thankful for all their time and efforts. It’s been special to watch the development and growth as a program, from the first commitment, the first game, the first win, the first graduates, and now the next generation of Jills hockey. I’m excited to see all that the program and players continue to accomplish.”

Engel said Rider and her Assistant, Kaylee Harnen played a big part in her ultimate decision to become a Lumberjill and the news of her leaving the program came as a surprise to her.

“(I was) very surprised, but I wish them the best in the future,” said Engel in a typed interview.

“Coach Rider and Coach Harnen both had a big influence on my decision to go to Northland. Coach Harnen helped me so much throughout the recruiting processes and they both welcomed me with open arms.”

While wishing the coaches well, Engel is determined to take advantage of the opportunity that she has landed no matter who is being the bench.

“I have been able to talk to many players on the team, both returning and incoming and we are all very excited to see where the hockey program will go and are very excited to play this upcoming season,” said Engel.


“Coach Rider has been an instrumental figure in constructing our first ever women’s hockey program and we wish her luck in her next chapter,” commented Interim Athletic Director Seamus Gregory.  “Through her hard work she made what was essentially a dream become a reality. Northland College Women’s Hockey is one of the pillars of our department with a thriving roster and from the diligent efforts of Coach Rider it will remain that way forever. The student athletes we have on our current roster and our incoming players will continue the strong tradition she built and move the program forward in a very positive direction in the WIAC and beyond.”

A national search is currently underway for the head coaching position.  The Jills will be returning for their second year in the WIAC, and they have already announced a large recruiting class from across North America. 

“We have an unbelievable hockey community here in the City of Ashland,” commented Gregory.  “The support is phenomenal for both our hockey programs and we look forward to the national search for our next Head Coach.”

The Badger Lightning captain this past season, Engel is one of four players with Sauk County ties to make the jump to the NCAA Tier 3 level this fall.

Jordan O’Connor who collected 20 wins in goal for the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity team and helped them reach the Sectional semis will be a rival for Engel, patrolling the crease for the UW-River Falls Falcons in the WIAC this season.

Reedsburg native Julianna Teske, who played AAA hockey with the Madison Capitols before attending high school in Warroad, MN, committed to play at Augsberg University in the MIAC this fall.

Sebastian Frank attended Wisconsin Dells High School and played his freshman season with the RWD program before moving on to a junior stint in the USPHL with the Minnesota Mullets recently committed to play in the MIAC as well, with Gustavus Adolphus.

Eagles’ goalie O’Connor commits to River Falls Falcons

Jordan O’Connor has some other things to accomplish first, but this fall, the Sauk Prairie Eagles’ senior goaltender will begin her college career as a freshman goaltender on the UW-River Falls Falcons NCAA Division 3 Women’s Hockey team.

On Tuesday, O’Connor will suit up for her final

Jordan O’Connor gets the glove up to block a Middleton Cardinals shot in the regular season finale for the Eagles at SPARC Saturday afternoon.

playoff run with the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team and if the post season is anything like the regular season, there will be plenty of excitement.

Despite a loss on home ice to wrap up the regular season, the Eagles collected 19 wins this season and O’Connor, who enters the playoffs ranked sixth in state in Goals Against (1.48 GAA) has been in the blue paint for all of them.

I was in contact with a lot of D3 schools,” said O’Connor at the regular season finale against Middleton Saturday. “But I went to River Falls two years ago. When I visited it was just amazing. (It was) a good environment and everyone was so welcoming, so I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

O’Connor said she is still undecided on a major, but said she is leaning toward a STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics).

By staying in state and playing in the WIAC conference, O’Connor’s family and friends will get a chance to see many of her games without traveling far.

“Yeah, I wanted to stay in Wisconsin,” said O’Connor.

First though, an Eagles team coming off likely the best season in school history is looking to go deep into the post season as well. This is the season many of the team’s eight seasons have been gearing up for since beginning their High School careers.

Our freshman year we, us freshmen, were leading the team, my teammates were leading in points and goals so from the end of that season we’ve all been looking forward to our senior season.

There are a bunch of key players, this is the season we’ve been looking forward to. The loss in the last game o the regular season is kind of sad, but (there’s still the playoffs).”

O’Connor is a three-sport athlete with the Eagles so the skates and goalie pads will go away briefly after the season ends allowing her to focus on one final season with the varsity girls’ soccer team where she generally plays either defense or midfield.

She is not planning to play in the boys’ or girls’ senior tournament this spring but says she will likely play some sort of off-season hockey in preparation for her start at River Falls in the fall.