Boys’ hockey to move out of North Suburban Conference

Boys' hockey to move out of North Suburban Conference

Mark Lex

Without conference games on their schedule, the Red Knights will have more chances to play the top teams in the state.

Matt Muenzberg, Sports Editor

After outscoring their opponents 96-6 in conference play this season, BSM will be leaving the North Suburban Conference for boys’ hockey and will play an independent schedule instead.

A proposal by the NSC members was approved by coaches Sunday, Feb. 19. The Red Knights won three games by at least 15 goals, and opponents never came within four goals, raising a discussion about competitive balance. “This was presented by other member schools; we’re not the ones who presented the plan. Two other schools pushed for the plan; we didn’t disagree,” said head coach Mr. Ken Pauly.

“Whenever you enter a contest, both teams have to have a reasonable chance for success,” said Mr. Pauly. “A down year can happen to anyone, but it’s been seven straight years with the same sort of result, and I believe that establishes a clear pattern.”

With the current schedule, BSM would play a string of games in which that competitive balance was not present and then have to turn up the intensity when games against top teams would come around. An independent schedule allows BSM to play high-caliber teams more frequently.

“I think it’s going to give us a more even performance throughout the year. I think it’s directly reflected when you go two weeks playing games that are 15-0 or 11-0, and then you play Moorhead and struggle a little, but there’s a reason for that,” said Mr. Pauly.

Junior forward Tj Moore agrees that it will help the team in big games. “It will be good for our program mainly because the better schedule will sharpen our team for playoffs and hopefully bring us more success in the future,” said Moore.

Some of the top Class A teams––St. Thomas, Breck, Hermantown, Rochester Lourdes, and Hibbing specifically, said Mr. Pauly––could be the first to be added to the schedule, along with a few AA teams as well. “It’ll be good to get a look at some of those out-state Class A powers like Hermantown and Lourdes, and we’ll be able to get some bigger schools. We’ll try to get Cretin back on the schedule and perhaps Eagan.”

Although BSM has been playing the top teams within section 6AA like Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Wayzata for the past few seasons, going independent allows them to play a more complete section schedule. Section opponents to be featured in the regular season schedule could include Hopkins and the Red Knights’ competition in their section quarterfinal game, Holy Family.

BSM’s records and statistics were sometimes discredited by fans and media because of their schedule. Many players feel they will gain some respect with the move. “I think that being a part of the North Suburban Conference questioned what people thought of us because it isn’t a highly competitive conference. No one will question us based off our strength of schedule,” said junior defenseman Patrick Graham.

“It gets us a lot more respect and more of a chance to prove ourselves as a premier program in the state,” said senior forward and co-captain Christian Horn. “We will be playing the top 20 teams in the state night in and night out, and the more we keep proving ourselves, the more respect we are going to get as a program.”