The team of Cloquet U12 girls were geared up and ready to skate onto the ice before their first game at state in March when they got bad news.
“We were ready for warm ups when the coaches told us the games were canceled,” said Emma Parks. “I was very upset.”
Her teammate, Gabby Rasmussen agreed.
“I was sad,” Rasmussen said. “We were really excited to play. It was some of the players' first time at state.”
Both girls had been to state the previous year. They said they enjoyed the tougher level of play and the ice cream banquet.
Head coach Drew Rasmussen said the girls had a very good season, in spite of getting a first-time goaltender, Layla Adamu, at the last moment and only 11 skaters on the team.
He said goalie coach, Sarah Gustafson, did a great job working with the new goalie.
“She (Adamu) did start out the season a little rough, but she picked it up in a hurry,” Drew Rasmussen said.
The team was hit with a flu bug part way through the season and ended up with only 7-8 skaters for a few games.
But the team worked hard and persevered, Drew Rasmussen said. They were District 11 league champions, as well as playoff champions.
“We had a good core of girls come back (from last season),” Drew Rasmussen said. “They responded well and worked hard with only two lines. They were very coachable and had supportive parents.”
The team was 33-5-1 and the highest scoring team in the state on a per game average, the coach said. They were the first youth team to go to state two years in a row.
The team was slated to play Edina, the top ranked team in the first round and the second highest scoring team in the state.
The girls were understandably disappointed at not being able to play at state this year.
“But I understand — better safe than sorry," he said
Nine of the girls, including the goaltender, will move up to the high school team next year.
This story was updated at 9:23 a.m. on May 2 to correct the number of players on a team. It was originally posted at 6:30 a.m. on May 1.