Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Spoilers get a little help from the neighborhood

They're known as Grafton-Park River, but you could add a couple of other towns to the mix. The Spoilers have a couple of solid players from nearby towns with them on the ice in this weekend's North Dakota state boys hockey tournament, as players ...

They're known as Grafton-Park River, but you could add a couple of other towns to the mix.

The Spoilers have a couple of solid players from nearby towns with them on the ice in this weekend's North Dakota state boys hockey tournament, as players from Drayton and Minto also are on the Grafton-Park River roster.

The team's senior athlete of the year finalist is forward Zach Miller, who is from Minto. Grafton-Park River's other area player is junior forward Tanner Anderson, who's from Drayton.

Miller drives about eight miles and Anderson about 20 miles to attend practice in Grafton. Both played their youth hockey in Grafton.

Grafton-Park River coach Jay Haugland said Anderson is the strongest player on the team. Miller is one of four finalists for the state senior athlete of the year award, which will be handed out after tonight's 7:15 championship game in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

ADVERTISEMENT

Miller's brother, Josef, also played for Grafton-Park River, and he has four younger brothers who play hockey.

He said he doesn't mind the daily commute to Grafton.

"You get used to it after 18 years," said Zach Miller, who turns 18 next week.

Tournament attendance up

Tournament manager Todd Olson said attendance for the first day of the tournament was up over 2006.

Thursday's paid attendance was 4,180. Olson, the Grand Forks athletic director, said 4,461 attended Friday's games. He said 3,451 attended the semifinal session and 1,011 the afternoon consolation semifinals.

Devils Lake-Cando has had a good following during the playoffs.

Devils Lake-Cando moved from the West Region to the East Region this year. That made a difference in the regional attendance in Grand Forks, Olson said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Our regional receipts were up about 30 percent, and I think a lot of that is Devils Lake replacing Jamestown," Olson said.

Fargo to bid for event?

With talk of a proposed 4,500-seat arena in Fargo, that city could end Grand Forks' run as East Region hockey tournament host.

Fargo might go after the state tournament. The big question would be whether 4,500 seats are enough to host state.

Grand Forks has hosted every state tournament but one. The Fargo Coliseum was the site of the 1971 tournament.

Since 9,191 saw Grafton-Park River defeat Grand Forks Central in the 2002 final, championship-game attendance has declined each year. The 2002 final was the first in the new Ralph Engelstad Arena and wasn't shown on live television because of the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Beyond his years

Minot freshman Bryce Schmitt, the son of former Western Collegiate Hockey Association referee Mike Schmitt, skated on the Magicians' first line this season. Schmitt finished the season with 18 goals and 17 assists, ranking him second on the team.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Bryce is a great student of the game," Minot coach Chad Burckhard said. "He does so many little things a non-hockey person doesn't notice. He's exceptionally gifted.

"He plays on a line with a couple of seniors, who excepted him right away and helped nurture him."

The younger Schmitt said his father has been a big influence.

"My dad does a lot for me," he said. "He's always been there for me."

Mike Schmitt gave up his officiating duties to watch his son play for the Magicians.

"I went to a couple of games here with him," Bryce said. "And I watched him on TV. But I think he misses it. But he still does some officiating with peewees and bantams."

The younger Schmitt said he still remembers his first varsity game against Devils Lake-Cando. "My head was spinning," he said. "Now, I'm used to it."

Staff writer Wayne Nelson contributed to this report.

What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.