Esse ‘humbled’ by Peterson awardLast week, CEC boys hockey coach Dave Esse received the Minnesota High School Coaches’ Association’s service award, named for the longtime coach – and character – and understands full well what it means.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey coach Dave Esse knows to have won an award named for Dave Peterson is a big deal.
Last week, Esse received the Minnesota High School Coaches’ Association’s service award, named for the longtime coach – and character – and understands full well what it means.
“I know he’s done basically everything you can think about in hockey,” Esse said of Peterson. “It’s a very humbling and honoring thing, to even be compared to someone like that.”
In high school coaching circles, Peterson is known for being the only coach ever to guide a Minneapolis City Conference school to a state championship. His 1970 Minneapolis Southwest team, backed by goaltender Brad Shelstad, defeated Willard Ikola’s mighty Edina team featuring Bill Nyrop 1-0 in overtime in the state championship game.
But Peterson did a lot more to help grow the game in the city and around the state.
Esse knows that being mentioned in the same sentence as Peterson is an honor.
“He did it all,” Esse said. “But when it comes down to it, I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years and been on a lot of committees. Nothing like Dave Peterson, but it’s an honor.”
Esse, 45, played for legendary coach Bill Kennedy and has coached at the school for 20 years – in addition to other things.
“I was on player development boards, ran camps, taught kids to skate, and been to countless meetings on squirts, girls hockey, all those things,” Esse said. “But when you look at some people who have won the award, it’s still a real honor.”
At his young age, one wonders how long Esse will be able to give to the program.
“Everyone will tell you that you are only as good as those you surround yourself with,” Esse said. “That’s parents and family. My family absolutely loves hockey, and we take it one year at a time.”
“Can I see myself coaching high school hockey in my 60s?” Esse asked. “No. But then you never say never.”