Alexandria’s Josh Meyers took over a Cardinal boys hockey program that has won 75 games over the last four years, so it’s not exactly starting from scratch as he gets set to lead this team from the bench for the first time.
Meyers replaced former head coach Ian Resch in the offseason, and expectations are high with the focus being back on hockey after a delayed start to the season.
“Our primary focus this year is to have fun, win our games and make it to the state tournament,” Meyers said. “Nothing is changing from our perspective. We still have the same goal and are going to give these kids every bit of knowledge we can. The season is shorter and we are playing less games, so if we want to be at our best by the end of the season, we can’t take any days off.”
The Cardinals will have to lean on some new talent stepping into big roles at the varsity level. Alexandria lost its top scorer from a year ago in team MVP Caleb Strong (27 goals, 23 assists). Third-leading scorer Joe Westlund (14 goals, 17 assists) also transferred to the Northstar Christian Academy to wrap up his career.
Defenseman Andrew Revering and goaltender Landyn James are a couple other All-Central Lakes Conference players the Cardinals have to replace, but Meyers likes the group he has to work with.
Josiah Gronholz broke out last winter as the team’s second-leading scorer as a sophomore with 18 goals and 20 assists. Christopher Loken also gained a lot of experience in net by splitting starts with James. Included in that were two starts in the playoffs as Alexandria made its fourth straight section title game before falling to Class A power St. Cloud Cathedral.
“Every day, we want to keep improving and we believe we can win every game,” Meyers said of his confidence in this team. “When we do this, our main goal of reaching the state tournament will be accomplished. Then from there, it is single elimination and anything can happen.”
Meyers said it is a group with great leadership that has shown through the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will have some hiccups throughout the season, but this group has shown to never quit and keeps striving to be better,” Meyers said.
Meyers acknowledges that there are a lot of unknowns as a first-year head coach, probably from the players’ perspective too. He is ready to get going in a program he grew up in and is now excited to lead.
“Each coach has had experiences with this group at some point over the past four, five years. But as a high school program, we haven’t had much interaction,” Meyers said. “There is probably a lot of unknown about what type of coaches we are, how practices will look and our expectations. Us as coaches are still learning more about each of the players and what type of player they are on the ice.”
2021 ALEXANDRIA BOYS HOCKEY
SENIORS - Christopher Loken, G; Cole Walters, F; Grant Rebrovich, F; Jacksyn Thorson, D; Jacob Partington, F; Jaeger Steele, D; Michael Dallum, D; Nicholas Huss, F; Peyton Doty, F
JUNIORS - Brycen Berg, F; Brennan Lattimer, D; Brennen Brecht, D; Cohen Hovde, F; Colten Cavers, F; Gabe Evink, G; James Schwartz, F; Josiah Gronholz, F; Lake Hagen-Koelbl, F; Mason Stennes, F; Matthew Hornstein, D; Pieter Mulder, D; Teagan Pfeffer, G
SOPHOMORES - Brayden Schlangen, F; Brayden Steidl, F; Elijah Rasmusen, G; Henry Ramstorf, D; Jack Breitzman, F; Jacob Navratil, D; Joe Lamski, F; Jordan Nicholson, D; Keegan Lucy, F; Mason Loch, D; Nick Peterson, F; Riley Wagner, F; Tripp Shatek, F; Tyler Kludt, F; Wyatt Tischer, F; Zachary Sprenger, D; Zaven Noetzelman, D
FRESHMAN - Cole Haabala, F
ALEXANDRIA BOYS HOCKEY SCHEDULE
Jan. 14 at Fergus Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 19 at Sartell, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21 vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Rocori-River Lakes, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 28 vs. St. Cloud Tech/Apollo, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 2 at Willmar, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 4 vs. Bemidji, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 9 at St. Cloud Tech/Apollo, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Brainerd, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 18 vs. Fergus Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 20 at St. Cloud Cathedral, 4:15 p.m.
Feb. 23 vs. Sartell, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 25 vs. Little Falls, 7:15 p.m.
March 2 at Monticello, 7 p.m.
March 6 vs. Detroit Lakes, 7:15 p.m.
March 8 at Bemidji, 7:15 p.m.
March 11 vs. Brainerd, 7:15 p.m.
March 12 at Little Falls, 7:15 p.m.