Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Congrats to state champ Bantams

Congratulations to the Bantam B hockey state champion Polar Hawks.

The co-op team of 12 players, ages 12 to 15, from the Ironwood Polar Bear and Iron River Ice Hawk hockey clubs went 5-0 at the state tournament in Marquette last weekend, including an 8-0 win over Jackson in the final Sunday.

“It was a great showing by our local kids,” said Brian Roehm, of Ironwood, one of three coaches.

Great showing, indeed, for a team that had just six combined practices this season. Half of the kids practiced here at the Pat O’Donnell Civic Center in Ironwood, while the other half practiced in Iron River.

The team played 47 games this season. Roehm said practices were challenging with just six players usually on half the ice. “Our goalie was from Iron River, so we were shooting at an open net here,” he said.

The other coaches included Dave Lundin of Ironwood and Mike Hedtke of Iron River. All three are fathers of players on the team.

Low numbers caused the need for the co-operative effort. Depending on numbers in the future, there may be more need for co-ops, Roehm said.

But low numbers did not deter from the players’ desire. Roehm said four of the players were on a Polar Bear team that won the Squirt state championship a few years ago. “We’ve got a group of kids that really love to play hockey,” he said.

The Polar Hawks were in Marquette for three days and Roehm estimated they drew a fan base of more than 200 to attend the games.

“It was pretty exciting,” Roehm said. “The kids made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.”

We commend those who coached and otherwise supported these players and put together the co-op team that gave these kids this opportunity. But most of all, we congratulate the kids — the Polar Hawks — on a fantastic achievement. State champs! Way to go!

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