Dickinson Midgets ready for strong '20-21 season
Following the loss of two key athletes, the Midgets are ready to prove they are still one of the best teams in the Western Edge.
With the return of the cold winter months brings the heated excitement of another hockey season for the Dickinson boys hockey team. Despite losing one of its strongest classes of athletes, the Midgets are ready to prove it still has what it takes to be one of the mightiest hockey teams in the region.
Dickinson saw its playoff chances fade with a 7-3 loss to Jamestown to end its 2019-20 season last February. Now, without the leadership of elite defenseman Jeran Hugelen and offensive leader Joseph Pavek, the Midgets’ 17-man varsity roster is looking forward to proving it still has a chance of being one of the tougher teams on the Western edge of North Dakota.
“I’m excited, I think we have a smaller senior group but a real good senior group that does things the right way and leads by example,” head coach Dallas Kuntz said. “We got a ton of new kids, they’ve been coming and bringing some energy and I think they’ve kind of rejuvenated some of the older guys a little bit.”
While the early stages of the season may see some potential setbacks for the Midgets hockey team, Kuntz is confident the team will be able to convert into a team that could make some noise in the playoffs.”
“It might take us a little while to really grasp the varsity game,” he said. “But I’m super excited. I think we have a team that can certainly compete and our goal is to get a little better each day and make sure that our train is rolling come tournament time in February.
Senior Landon Aman, also known as the quarterback for the Midgets’ football team, will be leading the Midgets on the ice as the captain of the upcoming season. Kuntz mentioned that the athlete may not be a stat sheet stuffer, but does whatsoever necessary to record wins.
“(Aman’s) been in big situations and he’s not going to show up on a stat sheet every night but behind the scenes he does all the little things, all the dirty work for us,” Kuntz said.
Seniors Xander Krump, Shane Johnson, and Ethan Blotske will also be called upon to make key plays in the Midgets’ success throughout the season.
As for underclassmen, juniors Evan Groll, Quentin Lewis will be two players to look at during the season in terms of production on the offensive side of the ice.
Following the delay of the regular season, Kuntz discussed what it’s been like getting prepared for the season.
“It’s been interesting. We had a real good week of practice on Nov. 9, and when we dispersed at the end of that week knowing that we were going into shut down mode and not knowing what to expect,” he said. “The guys got together a lot to work out and do stuff and when we picked back up on the 30th we just tried to make it as normal as possible.
“We’re almost two weeks into practice and I think the guys are just chomping at the bit to play different competitions. Let’s go see where we’re at and compete against another squad,” he added.
Despite the adjustments following the loss of key players, Kuntz said the goal remains the same for the Midgets -- get to the playoffs.
“Past teams have set the standard for us, our goals never change,” he said. “We always want to finish at the top four in the region, our goal is to qualify for the state hockey tournament. That’s the goal that we’ve obtained a few times over the last five-six years.
“We've stumbled a little bit the last two years and we haven’t made it there but our goal is to always qualify for the state hockey tournament,” Kuntz added. “Go there, compete well, have a good showing … It's going to take a while for us I think but we have young talented players on our team.”
With the large number of players on the roster, the ‘20-21 season could be a special one for the Dickinson Midgets.
“I have high expectations for us as a team and we’ll just take it one day at a time,” Kuntz said. “There’s a sense of excitement with so many young kids that are out on our teams this year.”
The Midgets are scheduled to begin its season on Saturday on the road against Bottineau at 6:15 p.m.