ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The concept of “home” means many things to many people. To high school senior Mack Motzko, home is a roster spot with 19 other boys wearing the blue and gold of St. Cloud Cathedral.

Motzko, the oldest son of the Minnesota Gophers’ men's hockey coach, played in St. Cloud all throughout his youth and high school hockey career, until last season. With his father leaving St. Cloud State for the Gophers’ job, and the family moving from St. Cloud to the western Twin Cities suburbs, Mack skated for Minnetonka High School last season.

While the Skippers were getting upset in their section playoffs, Mack’s former team captured the state Class A title. With his senior year of high school approaching, Mack made a decision that his father fully supported.

“He decided to go home,” Bob Motzko said on Wednesday, Sept. 11, after the Gophers skated, noting that Mack is still living with his parents and making the 50-minute commute to and from St. Cloud most days. They plan to have him live in St. Cloud with family friends during hockey season.

“Everything was great at Minnetonka. The school was outstanding and my youngest son is going to start freshman year there and he’s happy, but this one wanted to go home, and we couldn’t blame him,” Bob Motzko said. “We were in a situation where we could make it happen, and he went home.”

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As a sophomore with the Crusaders, Mack Motzko had 13 goals and 18 assists in 25 regular season games. As a junior at Minnetonka, he had four goals and eight assists in 25 games. The hockey staff at Cathedral is delighted to have him back for one final season.

“It’s great because this is where he’s from. Last year was tough losing him. He played for us as a freshman and a sophomore, and he missed it,” Crusaders coach Derrick Brown said. “I know our guys and everyone at Cathedral is thrilled to have him back in the building. It’s a lot bigger than just hockey.”

Brown said that on the ice, Motzko is a hard-working player who goes to the hard areas of the ice and leads by example. With a tough schedule and a state title to defend, the Crusaders will likely have a need for his skills.

“I’m trying to get it across to the guys that we are the Hermantown this year in Class A. That’s a fun place to be. Pressure is a privilege,” Brown said. “It will be a great experience for these young guys to go through the grind because everybody is gunning for us, and I don’t think we’d want it any other way.”

The Crusaders open the title defense at home on Nov. 26 versus Fergus Falls. Their schedule includes a rematch of last season’s state title game when Greenway comes to St. Cloud on Dec. 6.