AREA PREP NOTEBOOK: Changes coming to Minnesota Section 8A boys hockey tournament
Change is coming to Minnesota Section 8A boys hockey. Beginning next season, the 8A tournament format will change. Rather than having the entire tournament at one site, play-in and quarterfinal games will be hosted by the teams with the highest seed.
Change is coming to Minnesota Section 8A boys hockey.
Beginning next season, the 8A tournament format will change. Rather than having the entire tournament at one site, play-in and quarterfinal games will be hosted by the teams with the highest seed.
In addition, when the tournament goes to one site, both semifinal games will be played on the same night, a Saturday. Previously, single semifinal games had been held on the Saturday and Monday nights prior to the Thursday championship.
"We've noticed a decline in attendance, particularly in the quarterfinal round,'' East Grand Forks Senior High athletic director Jim Scanlan said. "It's been poorly attended.
"We're one of the few sections in the state that has still run a tournament solely at one site. In Section 8A, every other team sport plays at the highest seeds through the quarterfinals. So we decided to try it in boys hockey. If it doesn't work, we can always go back.''
Scanlan said the belief is that holding quarterfinal games at the highest seeds in volleyball, boys basketball and girls basketball has helped stabilize attendance, which had been in decline.
Section 8A secretary Jim Weinzierl said 8A hockey coaches initially brought up the idea to switch the tournament's format. Their recommendation went to the athletic directors, who voted 9-1 in favor of the change. The region committee then approved the change.
"The attendance (at the boys hockey tournament) has been dropping from what it was five, 10, 20 years ago,'' Weinzierl said. "And that's a common thing in all activities -- attendance is going down.
"This year's attendance in the tournament at Warroad was about half of what it was last year. Part of that is that it was a farther distance for fans to drive. It does help when it's at a more central site. But I think having quarterfinals at home sites has helped stabilize attendance. When somebody is on home ice or home court, the attendance will increase.''
Next season, play-ins are scheduled for Feb. 19, with quarterfinals on Feb. 21. The tournament then goes to East Grand Forks for semifinals on Feb. 23 and the championship on Feb. 28.
The plan is to give the different format three seasons, then evaluate its effects.
Fast start for Eastman
Roseau's Jesse Eastman is picking up where he left off late last season.
After winning the high jump in his first indoor track meet this spring with a 6-foot jump, Eastman cleared 6-feet-4 at the Little Amik indoor meet in Bemidji last week. That's just one-fourth of an inch shy of matching the school record Eastman set at the subsection meet last spring.
"Jesse's off to a fantastic start,'' Roseau coach Jill Helgeson said. "But it probably isn't unexpected. He came in stronger and more motivated. It's his senior year. We expect big things from him.
"He's only 5-10. We have a picture of him standing under a high-jump bar that's placed at 6-4. You see it and wonder how he does it. You look at Jesse and you don't think high jumper. But he has natural spring.''
By comparison, Bagley-Fosston's Mark Goss won the Section 8A high jump last spring with a 6-foot jump.
Eastman also surpassed 40 feet, 6 inches in winning the triple jump in both meets this spring. He was a state qualifier in the triple jump last spring.
Chris Sommer of Devils Lake and Grafton's Jake Hanson and Adam Jiskra have been selected to play in the annual Badlands Bowl, matching outstanding North Dakota seniors from the 2011 football season against their counterparts from Montana. The game will be played June 16 in Dickinson. Also on the North Dakota roster are UND recruits Tucker Nordby (Harvey-Wells County), Devin Coyle (Mandan) and Jake Watson (Mandan). . . . Zach Riopelle of Warren-Alvarado-Oslo has been selected to play in the Minnesota High School All-Star football game, which will be played June 30 in St. Cloud. Riopelle will play on the North team, which will also include UND recruits Brian Labat (Detroit Lakes) Joe Mollberg (Detroit Lakes) and Taj Rich Jr. (Robbinsdale Cooper). . . . Red Lake County Central senior Michaela Casavan has been selected to play in the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association's all-star series. Games will be played April 20-21 at Macalester College. . . . Casavan, senior Sarah Durand of Warren-Alvarado-Oslo and Taylor Kujava of Ada-Borup are honorable mentions on the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association's Class A all-state team. . . . Brooke Yaggie of Thief River Falls and UND recruit Josie Dillon of Benilde-St. Margaret's are honorable mentions on the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association's Class AAA all-state team. . . . Ashley Blikre has resigned as volleyball coach at Rolla-Rock Lake. . . . Jesse Vote has resigned as volleyball coach at Rolette-Wolford. . . . Jared Blikre has resigned as athletic director at Rolette-Wolford. . . . Area athletes that have committed to play volleyball at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls include: Desirae Moulds, Climax-Fisher; Mikaela Janicke, Badger-Greenbush-Middle River; Brittni Wellen, Lake of the Woods; and Emily Peterson, Norman County East. . . . Area athletes who have committed to play football at Northland Community and Technical College include: Davis Mills, Stephen-Argyle; Kyle Braun, Kittson County Central; Dylan Fjerstad, Fosston; and Cole Christianson, Brant Lenz and Sam Macy of Fertile-Beltrami. . . . Chuck Anderson has resigned as boys basketball coach at Bagley High School.
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