Updates from Upperclassmen: A.L. girls hockey kicks off new season

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

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Updates from Upperclassmen by Zizi Willett

Two-time girls hockey Section A champions are back in action for the 2023-24 season. With all of the past seasons players returning and eight eighth and ninth graders moving up to high school hockey, there are no losses compared to last year’s team. The first two weeks back to practice have been a grind, and we are already seeing improvement in each player with every passing day. The team is focused on creating more history for the Albert Lea hockey program every year.

Zizi Willett

Coaching the Tigers to two section championship wins, thus getting the team to the first two state tournaments attended by any Albert Lea hockey team — creating history — is Mark Goskeson. Goskeson has now stepped down from the position, allowing Mike Carlson to step into the head coach position. Carlson, who has known most of the players for the better part of their lives and has watched the team through all of the years, has now made it his goal to take this team and not only compete at state, but to win. The dedication between the girls and coaches, along with the sheer amount of skill and talent makes this goal, that may seem lofty to some, a very likely possibility within the next couple of years.

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The team’s home opener is this Saturday, with JV playing at 12:15 p.m. and varsity playing at 2 p.m. Beforehand from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. there is going to be a grill out: serving burgers, chips and water for $7. For everyone who wants to support the girls hockey program, all proceeds will go toward the team. The JV team will be playing Austin, while varsity will be playing Metro-South, a team made up of Burnsville, Minehaha Academy, St. Paul Academy and Faribault students. Playing them last year pushed the team and resulted in a 5-4 loss in overtime.

This year is a redemption shot for the girls and should be another entertaining game.

We hope to pack our arena full of supportive community members, even those who don’t understand the game!

As a current senior who has grown up playing with most of these girls, I can wholeheartedly say that it is the most special group that I have ever been a part of. Between every player there is a connection that feels like a group of sisters. We never fail to have fun, push each other to work hard, and sometimes get annoyed with each other. Even when we’re mad or upset, there is an overwhelming amount of love and support that each player receives that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else. This environment is something unlike anything that Albert Lea has experienced, and it would be huge for each member of the community to come and support this team.

Zizi Willett is a senior at Albert Lea High School.