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1A tourney notebook: Whitecaps player forgoes pro playoffs to coach at state

By Star Tribune, 03/27/21, 12:15AM CDT


Tidbits from the first day of games at Xcel Energy Center.

Hockey continued Friday night for the Proctor/Hermantown girls’ team, which drove home from St. Paul to watch the evening session state tournament games and their coach’s professional team.

Proctor/Hermantown coach Emma Stauber, a top defender for the Minnesota Whitecaps, missed out on playing Friday in the Isobel Cup Playoffs in Brighton, Mass. Instead, she led the third-seeded Mirage to an 8-0 victory over Luverne in a Class 1A state tournament quarterfinal game Friday afternoon.

Stauber, a member of the Whitecaps’ 2018 Isobel Cup Championship roster, joined them for two weeks earlier this season. She missed three high school games and so much more.

“It was extremely hard to leave my little ones,” said Stauber, a product of the Proctor/Hermantown program. “We would FaceTime every day.”

While players value Stauber’s example as a professional hockey player, they were glad to have her on the bench for the state tournament.

“We wanted her with us,” senior forward Alyssa Watkins said. “But we would’ve respected her decision if she had to leave again.”


Eagles’ independence ends
With no state tournament consolation bracket because of COVID-19 restrictions, teams that lose quarterfinal games are one-and-done this year.

But for Rochester Lourdes, its loss Friday took on extra finality.

The Eagles will not exist as an independent program next season. Dwindling numbers are forcing a cooperative agreement with another school, coach Laura Vannelli said.

The other program in the co-op is still being negotiated, Vannelli said, but she is confident that Lourdes’ seven underclassmen will skate for the new-look team next season.


Eight-school salute
River Lakes made its first state tournament appearance representing of the Central Lakes Conference and Section 6. River Lakes also represents eight schools as a co-op program.

The team was allotted about 114 tickets for the game, which was unfortunate “with such a big venue,” according to River Lakes co-coach Alexis Klatt.

“Coming from so many different communities, there’s so many more people that would like to be there and like to be a part of this,” Klatt said. “So, we had a good showing.”

Klatt added that River Lakes had a couple of sendoffs earlier Friday for the trip to St. Paul. Plus, they had a huge fan base watching the livestream of the game at home.


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