Patrick Andrews, on following legendary Bruce Plante as Hermantown’s new head boy’s hockey coach: “It’s humbling, pretty remarkable to take over for coach. He’s been such a large part of my life, not just as a coach, but as a dear friend and mentor. I’ve learned a ton from him. I’ve always wanted to teach and coach, and what a privilege it is to follow in the footsteps of such a great coach. I remember the days when we couldn’t get teams to play us, and now everyone wants to schedule us.”
Andrews, on what makes the Hawks’ program tick: “It’s the amazing culture we’ve built with Hermantown hockey, where everyone gives back from the ice mites to high school levels. It’s the amazing volunteers, the awesome coaches in HAHA (Hermantown Amateur Hockey Association) to the high school, where we have four former Hawks players serving on the coaching staff. Our four outdoor rinks are packed every night and all weekends, with kids simply having fun rink-ratting. Our goal was to build a second sheet of indoor ice in the late 1990s, but after we were unsuccessful a group of dads got together and said, ‘Well then, let’s have the best outdoor rinks in the state.’ They bought a Zamboni, and now, today, we continue to have the best outdoor ice in the state. The kids just want to be out there, practicing on the outdoor ice. Hermantown hockey is social networking for parents and kids. Even during the summertime, there will be 30-35 kids out there rink-ratting indoors when the ice is unsold.”
Andrews, on the 2017-18 Hawks: “We’re basically untested, from the goalie on out. Even though we have some extremely talented defensemen, only Trent Madill, really, has extensive varsity experience. Up front, obviously Tyler Watkins is a special talent, and we’ll feature a bunch of seniors and juniors with limited high school action. You won’t see a markedly different approach in our program, and the hard work aspect won’t change.”
Andrews, on his Hawks competing in an eight-team summer tournament this weekend in Duluth: “The kids have been skating since mid-June, but we’ll be missing several players due to prior commitments and vacation. We’ll throw a competitive team out there and will have fun.”
Hermantown 8th-grade hockey standout Gavin Blomdahl is participating in the summer Premier League in Edina, Minn.