Southwest hockey teams headed to state

Best season in decades for Southwest

Even if none of its teams bring home a state trophy, the Southwest Hockey Association has reason to celebrate one of its best seasons in decades.

Five teams with players from the SWHA are headed to state tournaments this month. That’s a level of success the Minneapolis system probably hasn’t experienced since the 1970s, said SWHA Board President Steve Jecha.

“This is something that happens to Edina or Wayzata, but it doesn’t happen to us,” Jecha said, referring to the bigger, typically better-funded and more successful suburban hockey systems.

The Minneapolis Park Storm will send its bantam A and B1 squads of 13- and 14-year olds, as well as its peewee A and B1 squads of 11- and 12-year olds to state tournaments that begin Friday afternoon. The boys’ teams include players from both the Southwest High School area and St. Louis Park.

The Washburn girls’ 14 and under team, a cooperative with one Southwest player, also earned a state tournament berth.

“We’ve got a strong group of kids,” Jecha said. “The way the regional tournaments worked out, our kids were able to win their way through regionals and get [to state.]”

Audio coverage of the games will be carried on the Minnesota Sports Broadcast Network website (www.mnsportnetwork.com). To find a schedule of youth hockey tournaments, visit the Minnesota Hockey website (www.minnesotahockey.org) and click on “Tournaments” at the bottom of the left-hand column.