Minnesota Hockey Journal

March 2018

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M A R C H 2 0 1 8 | M H J ON L I N E . C O M 13 The men's team has come into the national spotlight, having spent time this year at the top of the college hockey polls. They are guided by head coach and Austin, Minn., native Bob Motzko, who has led Team USA at the World Junior Championship each of the past two years (complete with gold and bronze finishes). Motzko's son, Mack, also plays in the youth program. Outside of the Division I level, there are other levels of amateur hockey to watch. St. John's University and the College of St. Ben's each compete at Division III. "It's great for the kids to have access to watch all this high-level hockey," Petroske said. "There are a lot of opportunities as a hockey nut. The biggest challenge is all of the demand for ice." 'IT'S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS' As Petroske points out, the youth association is all about the young players and making the sport affordable for them. This goal is evi- dent each season from start to finish. It starts in September, when they host an activity day. It's an open- house where young players can skate, play various games and activ- ities. Their parents can also participate in Q -and-A sessions during the event. "We want to get people aware of the program and how affordable it is," Petroske said. "It's a mass marketing campaign. We try to get it into the schools as much as we can. We typically end up registering about 50 kids that day." St. Cloud also runs Try Hockey For Free Days during the season to get even more players on the ice. So far, the effort has resulted in sig- nificant growth for the association. They had 468 players registered this past season. "I'm really proud of how much everyone has really embraced recruitment," Petroske said. "We're doing a good job of retaining the kids we have. I think our affordability is a big part of that." A SPECIAL KIND OF GROWTH Aside from its youth growth, the St. Cloud Hockey Association has helped launch Minnesota Special Hockey's newest team in St. Cloud. The association raised money to help get this team off the ground, which is in its first season and is part of a partnership between Minnesota Special Hockey and the Minnesota Wild. "It's another great opportunity for people to take advantage of," Petroske said. "We're very proud of our partnership with them. It's just one more way for families to get involved in this great sport." "We want to get people aware of the program and how affordable it is, It's a mass marketing campaign. We try to get it into the schools as much as we can. We typically end up registering about 50 kids that day." –Mike Petroske

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