Busy post-Thanksgiving weekend for area youth teams

A combination of Thanksgiving and hunting season slowed down youth hockey a bit in the past couple weeks, but entering December, teams are just a month away from Regional seedings and of course the holiday tournaments.

Throw in the Ducks and a full slate of varsity contests and there is plenty of action over the upcoming weekend.

 

Dells Ducks

The Ducks hit the ice right after Labor Day and the only let up was a forced one back in October. After playing right through the holiday weekend, the Ducks played a Thursday morning contest at the Lake Delton Ice Arena, falling to 0-21-0-0 on the season with a 7-2 defeat at the hands of the Steele County Blades.

The traditional weekend dates are dark this time around, but the Ducks will be on the ice Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. to play the Northern Colorado Junior Eagles from the new Mountain Division.

The Eagles have a 13-3-1 record and sit second in the division standings behind only the Pueblo Bulls who have played seven more matches.

 

Varsity hockey

The opening week of WIAA varsity hockey enters its first weekend with a couple Sauk County teams in action.

The RWD Cheavers will be entering the third game of the season and the first road test when its heads to Fond du Lac to take on St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers the defending Division 2 State Champion with a large number of returning players with a high noon faceoff.

The Badger Lightning who opened their own regular season Thursday will be on home ice at Pierce Park Pavilion at 4 p.m.

Baraboo Thunderbirds have a weekend off and the Sauk Prairie Eagles will not drop the puck on its regular season until Tuesday.

 

Youth Hockey

Bantam

Both the Baraboo T-Birds and Sauk Prairie Flyers Bantam ‘B’ team will host Waunakee ‘C’ on Saturday, starting at Pierce Park against the T-Birds at 2 p.m. and followed up at 6 p.m. at SPARC against the Bantam ‘B’ Flyers.

Bantam ‘A’ Flyers have a weekend off.

RWD Cheavers are scheduled to play in a Black River Falls tournament this weekend beginning early Saturday with a game against the Southeastern Hockey Association of Wisconsin (SHAW) Timberwolves at 8 a.m. The rest of the tournament is TBA.

 

U-14

The U-14 Monkeys have a busy four-game weekend scheduled, all at SPARC. The Central Wisconsin Storm will be in town Saturday for a pair of games, scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday it will be the Viroqua Thunder paying a visit with faceoffs at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The Badger Lightning will also be home for a pair Saturday, taking on the Mavericks at Pierce Park with faceoffs at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

Peewee

Sauk Prairie ‘B’ Flyers will be on home ice Saturday, taking on Waunakee C1 Red Wildcats in a 9:45 a.m. contest, then facing off against Viroqua ‘B’ at 1 p.m. On Sunday, the Sauk ‘B’s will head to Baraboo for a 10 a.m. contest against the Peewee T-Birds.
The ‘A’ Flyers have a three-game homestand at SPARC with the Waunakee ‘B’ squad in town Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and a pair of games against Black River Falls Tigers at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday.

RWD will see eight games for the peewees as the Peewee ‘A’ team hosts Black River Falls at 2:45 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, then entertains Onalaska ‘B’ Tornado in games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The ‘B’ Cheavers will face off against Tomah/Sparta at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, then returns for a 7 p.m. contest against Sun Prairie ‘C2’. On Sunday Viroqua will pay a visit for a 10:15 a.m. start with a rematch against Sun Prairie ‘C20 at 3 p.m.

U-12

The Sauk Prairie U-12 ‘A’ Monkeys will be at a tournament in Appleton on the weekend, beginning with a Friday night match against Wisconsin Valley Union Junior Eagles at 6:45 p.m. with the rest still TBA.

The U-12 ‘B’ Monkeys will also be on the road, playing two at Cornerstone Community Center in Ashwaubenon against the Green Bay Bobcats. The same two teams squared off the previous weekend, splitting a pair of games at SPARC.

Squirt

The RWD Squirt ‘A’ squad will kick off its weekend with a home game against Sauk Prairie Flyers ‘A’ at RACA at noon Saturday and makes the trek to Viroqua for a 2:30 p.m. start on Sunday.

The RWD ‘B’ Squirts will take on Waunakee C2 Yellow at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at RACA and will join their brothers in Viroqua Sunday with a 12:45 p.m. faceoff.

Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘B’ Flyers have just one game, a 7:45 a.m. start Saturday at SPARC against Waunakee C1.

 

After its game in Reedsburg Saturday, the Squirt ‘A’ Flyers will stay on the road, and play a second game at Onalaska, starting at 7:30 a.m. against the host Onalaska Tornado ‘A’ Squirts

The T-Birds Squirts are out of action until Dec. 12.

U10

The Sauk Prairie U-10 Monkeys will also take part in an Appleton tournament, starting Saturday at 9:15 a.m. against the Green Bay U10 Bobcats. The rest of the event is TBA.

Cheavers, T-Birds, Flyers and Monkeys weekend schedules

By Jim den Hollander

Publisher/Editor

Saukhockey.info

It’s a light weekend – in fact, a couple weeks for RWD Cheavers youth hockey teams, but there are plenty of games in the hopper for the other youth squads head into the weekend.

 

RWD CHEAVERS

Peewee A – A tough test on the road Sunday for the Peewee ‘A’ squad that makes the trip to Tomah to play one of the top peewee teams in the area.

Bantams – The bantam Cheavers will get its first tournament test of the season making the trip to West Salem. Although opponents are still too be announced, games times of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday as well as 11 a.m. Sunday already appear on the schedule.

 

BARABOO T-BIRDS

Peewee – The Peewee T-Birds will entertain West Salem peewees at Pierce Park Pavilion for a pair of games on Saturday with puck drop at 9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

Bantam – T-Bird Bantams have a busy weekend with three games scheduled. The first game will be Saturday at 3:45 p.m. at Pierce Park Pavilion at 3:45 p.m. and the T-Birds hit the road Sunday to play at Viroqua Community Arena with 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. games against the host Viroqua Thunder.

 

SAUK PRAIRIE FLYERS

Squirt  –  The Squirt ‘A’ Flyers will be at Stateline Ice and Community Expo for a road contest against the Monroe Avalanche Sunday at 4:45 p.m.

The Squirt ‘B’ Flyers have a busy weekend, beginning with a visit from the Waunakee C2 Wildcats Saturday at 9 a.m. and then Sunday the C1 Warriors will be in town for a 1:15 p.m. contest.

Peewee – The Peewee ‘A’ Flyers will entertain the Sun Prairie ‘B’ Cardinals in a 5:15 p.m. contest at SPARC on Saturday, then travel to Stateline Ice and Community Expo to play the Monroe Avalanche at 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The Peewee ‘B’ Flyers entertain the Sun Prairie C1 peewees at SPARC on Saturday at 3:45 p.m.

Bantam – The Bantam ‘A’ Flyers will play host to the West Madison Polar Caps at 6:45 p.m. Saturday at SPARC and will hit the road Sunday to play the Monroe Avalanche at Stateline Ice and Community Expo Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

The Bantam ‘B’ squad heads to Monroe on Friday night for a 7:45 p.m. game against the Monroe ‘B’ Avs then moves on to the Ponds of Brookfield Ice Arena to square off against the Elmbrook ‘C’ Eagles in a 7:10 p.m. match. Sunday will see the Flyers back in Monroe for a rematch against the ‘B’ Avalanche at 11:45 a.m.

 

SAUK PRAIRIE MONKEYS

U-10  –  The U-10 Sauk Monkeys will open its 2020-21 campaign Saturday in Beaver Dam with a 10:45 a.m. contest against the U-10 Beaver Dam Wildfire

U-12 – Some cancellations lightened the schedule somewhat for the U-12 ‘A’ Monkeys who will also be in Beaver Dam this weekend for a 12:15 p.m. match Saturday against the Wildfire U-12’s.

The U-12 ‘B’ squad will entertain the Washington County Lynx in a contest at 2:45 p.m. at SPARC.

U-14 – The U-14 Monkeys will travel to Beaver Dam Saturday for a return match at 1:45 p.m. Saturday having entertained the same squad at SPARC the previous weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Youth hockey registrations

The Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells (RWD) Youth hockey organization held some recent sign up sessions, including a final in person one at the Lake Delton Ice Arena last week. About 100 are signed up so far and it is expected others will sign up either online or by phone over the next few weeks.

Thunderbird Youth Hockey has details its registration dates, options and available online registration at its website www.thunderbirdyouthhockey.com.

Sauk Prairie Youth Hockey also has on online link for registration, currently on the front page of its website www.saukprairiehockey.com

The Prairie du Sac rink has clinics scheduled for most of the youth levels, beginning as soon as September 28.

More details will appear in this space as they become available.

RWD Youth Hockey wrapped up its in person registrations at the Lake Delton Ice Arena last week with equipment fittings av available for some of the newer players. On hand to help out with that was some of the Dells Ducks team players.

 

 

Awesome off-season storylines for every team in Sauk County

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

It has been a weird summer for a hockey fan.

While I have always considered that stretch between April and September as the ‘off-season’ with little to no hockey activity, I was surprised to find its actually not hard to miss the game, even when the ice is out of most arenas.

This summer in particular has been rough, as the 2020-21 hockey season becomes more highly anticipated by the minute.

Many youth players extend their season, trying out for area teams of all competition levels and for coaches and scouts of junior hockey teams is generally almost as hectic as the regular season with Showcase style weekends planned across the country as they work toward putting the next season’s team together.

It might be a little tougher this season for some junior teams with the absence of the weekly events, but the Ducks are in good shape with a solid number of returners and a core group brought by the new coaches – Shaun Falzone, Anthony Rohde and Brian Guevara – from the Dallas area.

The excitement of the local High School coaches is contagious – RWD varsity Head Coach Neil Mattson is definitely a glass half-full personality. If you see him in June or July of any off season, he will beam while telling you how good the upcoming RWD team will be. How can you not look forward to the season after speaking with him?

I have not head nearly as many interactions with Baraboo/Portage Head Coach, David Clark, but he also seems supremely confident in the ability of his charges and they definitely play their best for him. Sauk Prairie Eagles Head Coach David Lohrei is coming off a season featuring likely the greatest graduating class in the team’s history, led by Riley Jelinek who topped the state in scoring.

There were several other seniors that got the team to the Sectional semis and while there will no doubt be a bit of a drop off, the future bodes well as last season’s bantam Flyers enjoyed a strong season, wrapping up at the State Championship tournament.

The Badger Lightning won just a few games last season, but it was a bounce back season. Head Coach Rick Capener will miss his six graduating seniors but he also will benefit from a solid group of players who played prominent roles on their respective Badger Lightning youth teams. It might take a while, but help is definitely on its way.

In the Youth leagues, the rivalry should intensify with the dissolving of the South Central Cyclones and the return of Baraboo Youth Hockey and the forming of the RWD Youth organization. That means the RWD vs. Baraboo/Portage matchup that creates so much excitement during the varsity season will no be in effect right down to the Squirt level of play.

All of this hockey talk has this reporter getting anxious to stand at the glass once again.

We are a week from June and that will bring some action on the ice at various locations.

Stay tuned.

Don’t cry for the Cyclones

By Jim den Hollander

Saukhockey.info Publisher/Editor

One of my goals in starting Sauk Hockey is to celebrate the game locally. In fact, that is my primary goal, my main goal, maybe my only goal.

In other words, I am not looking for any ‘scoops’ or trying to uncover any scandals. I see a lot of hockey websites out there now, particular in the junior field, that have a clear mandate, being pro league ‘A’ while bashing league ‘B.’

I spent nearly three decades as a sports reporter/editor at weekly, tri-weekly and daily newspapers and a little more time at a magazine. I always hated the controversial stuff. Maybe that made me a bad reporter. I have to say, I did enjoy getting the scoop on competitor publications but I was mostly about sharing facts, scores, stats and good news.

To that end, I scrapped a planned story on the dissolution of the South Central Cyclones. I interviewed representatives of Baraboo, Reedsburg and Wisconsin Dells youth hockey organizations and of course, I ended up with three different views. I put off doing the story and ultimately scrapped it. Instead of bemoaning the end of the Cyclones, I have decided to embrace the return of Baraboo T-Birds and RWD Youth Hockey and the return of the rivalry to the youth level. If you have seen an RWD vs. Baraboo-Portage varsity game in the past 10 seasons, you know, that is an awesome rivalry.

I loved the Cyclones. When the group started three seasons ago, I was excited about seeing our players get a chance to practice and play with others at their own level of competition.

The first season was great too as the Cyclones held their own with programs from Janesville, McFarland and Oregon.

I remember having a conversation with someone who I respect a great deal early on about the program. That person was not a fan of the co-operative effort and I absolutely was. They wondered why it became necessary as, at one time all three communities had healthy youth programs and now needed to rely on each other.

That stayed with me because I thought it was a very good point. There is no doubt, at least in the area (Dells/Delton) I am most familiar with – numbers are down in the past decade or so. I don’t need access to registration figures to see that.

Numbers are down in general for a lot of sports in the Dells community, I mean, there are less students than there was 20 years ago and I am not sure what the reason is for that – And the purpose of my rant here is not really to go into detail on that.

All I am saying is —  my mandate since I moved here many years ago has always been to try to make the sport more popular in the community. It is just such a great game; I want more people to enjoy it. When I moved here, I had a hard time dealing with the fact there were many out there that didn’t really care about the game. I just couldn’t understand it and I always felt that if someone were to be around the game for a while, they would fall in love with it.

I know now, hockey is not for everyone and I have (begrudgingly) accepted that fact.

But I still want to promote this game as much as I can. If it is hockey and its in Sauk County, I want to use this platform to promote it, making people aware and hopefully, excited about it.

One thing that the dissolving of the Cyclones has done is created – at least for the male players – a direct feeder system from mite to varsity – with RWD (Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells), Baraboo/Portage and Sauk Prairie as the beneficiaries. For the females, the Badger Lightning is now the lone team in the area. All three organizations are feeding into the Lightning. Based on the success of the Sauk Prairie Monkeys and Badger Lightning organizations, in particular at the younger levels, the varsity Lightning could be heading into some great seasons down the road.

The opportunity is there for youngsters – This season, no less than four players with local ties will begin freshman seasons at NCAA Division 3 schools which they will represent on the ice.

Their accomplishments and the success of a revitalized Dells Ducks junior hockey team will hopefully work hand in hand with the varsity programs to make more and more youngsters ask for skates this Christmas.

 

— This is the first of many opinion columns from Jim den Hollander who hopes to turn Saukhockey.info into a source of information and entertainment for hockey fans in Sauk County.

Cyclones, Lightning, Flyers and Monkeys weekend schedules

Looking for a chance to catch one of the local youth teams in action?

Here’s What they are up to this weekend.

South Central Cyclones

Squirt A – The Squirt A Cyclones will be on home ice all weekend, playing host to the Middleton B Squirts Saturday at 3 p.m. and taking on the Waunakee A squad at 11 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Sunday. All three games will be at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.

Squirt B – The Squirt B squad will be heading to a tournament in Waupaca over the weekend, beginning with a game against the Oshkosh B squad Saturday at 1 p.m. and then meeting the Janesville C team at 7:15 Saturday night. Time and opponent for Saturday will be determined by their performance in the two earlier matches.

Squirt C – The Squirt C team also has a busy weekend at the Baraboo rink, beginning with a game against the Verona C2 squad at 11:15 a.m. Saturday and a wrapping up with a doubleheader against Waunakee C2 White at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

U-12/U-14 Badger Lightning – Both girls’ teams will enjoy a rare weekend off.

Pewee A – The Peewees will start the weekend with a 4:30 p.m. faceoff at Sun Prairie Saturday and returns home to play Tomah at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo at 2 p.m.

Peewee B – The Peewee B Cyclones will also be at Sun Prairie on Saturday for a 4:15 p.m. start Saturday, returning home for a Sunday morning game at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) at 11:15 a.m.

Bantam A – The Bantams will be at Hartmeyer Arena in Madison Saturday for a pair of games against the Patriots at 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. then visiting the Sauk Prairie Bantams in a 12:15 p.m. contest.

Bantam B – The local Bantam B’s will play just one game this weekend, at RACA against Wildcat B Sunday at 2:15 p.m.

Sauk Prairie Flyers/Monkeys

Squirt A – The Squirt A Flyers will play four times on the weekend, the first three on home ice. After hosting the Beaver Dam Squirts in a 10 a.m. contest Saturday, the Flyers will be back on the ice at 4:45 p.m. to face Waunakee A. On Sunday, the Squirt Flyers will faceoff against the Madison Polar Caps in a 10:15 a.m. start, then travel to Oregon to wrap up the weekend at 2:45 p.m.

Squirt B – A light weekend for the Squirt B team with just one game, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on home ice against the visiting Middleton C1 squad.

U-10 Monkeys – The mini Monkeys will make the trip to Fond du Lac Sunday for a pair of contests against the Fond du Lac Blades at 12:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

U-12 Monkeys – The U-12 Monkeys will also play a pair on the road, traveling to Viroqua Saturday for 3:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. games against the Thunder.

Pewee A – The Peewee Flyers will travel to Washington County on Saturday for 9:30 a.m. and 12:15 faceoffs against the Washington County Ice.

Peewee B – The B squad will enjoy a rare weekend off.

Bantams – The Bantam Flyers are heading into a busy weekend, starting with a 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Omni Center in Onalaska against the host Onalaska Tornado. On Sunday, the Flyers will take on the South Central Cyclones in a 12:15 p.m. contest.

 

Flyers/Monkeys sending every team to state tournaments again

For a second straight season, the Sauk Prairie Flyers and Monkeys have placed every one of its teams into their respective State Championship tournaments as Regional champs.

Both Squirt entries will make the trip as the Squirt ‘A’ Flyers held off Stoughton 4-3 Sunday afternoon in the Regional championship game at the Ice Pond in Waunakee to win the Region 4 Championship.

Flyers’ goals came from Alexander Kirk, Logan Harrington, Easton Leatherberry and Davis Lombard. Michael Jolicoeur set up a pair and other assists were collected by Kirk and Caden Argall.

Benjamin Freeman picked up the win I goal with a 22-save effort.

The Squirt Flyers will represent the Region at the State Championship Tournament in Waupaca, March 7-8, beginning with a first round match against the host team at 12:45 p.m. The Eagles will move on to play either Amery or Waupun in the Championship or Consolation semis and the tournament championship game will be played at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Squirt B Flyers grabbed an automatic bid on the weekend as the lone 3B division representative from Region 4 and they will go on to play on the same weekend at Marshfield, also playing the host team at 12:45 p.m. The Flyers will face either Black River Falls or Waupaca in the second round and the Championship game will be played at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

U-12 Monkeys

The Monkeys Girls team earned a 2-0 shutout win against the Dane County Diamonds in the Regional championship game, also at the Ice Pond at 9:15 a.m. Sunday and they will not have to travel far with the State Championship tournament to be played at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) March 14-15.

The Monkeys will face the host Badger Lightning U-12’s in the opening round, then move on to play either the Hayward or Beaver Dam U-12’s in the second round. The State Championship will be decided at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Peewee Flyers

The Peewee Flyers came up with an 8-5 win against the Monroe Avalanche to capture the Region 4 championship at the Ice Pond Sunday.

As a result, the local peewees will move on to play the State Championship game at Black River Falls March 14-15.

The Flyers will keep up the trend, wrapping up the opening round of the tournament against the host team from Black River Falls on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

The peewees will face either Amery or Waupun in the second round and the state championship faceoff is at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Bantam Flyers

The Bantams made up of many of the players who claimed a peewee state championship last season earned a return trip with a 4-1 win against Monroe at Hartmeyer Arena in Madison on Sunday.

The Flyers will make the trip to Rhinelander March 7-8 to play in the Bantam 3A State Championship and like all of the other Region 4 reps, the Flyers will start out the event against the host side at 1:15 p.m. on the Saturday to decide whether it faces Amery or Beaver Dam in the second round. The bantam 3A Championship game will faceoff at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Note – In an effort to be timely, I have put this story on the website/facebook page without scoring details. Hopefully future edits will show more information added. Please check back for updates.