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John’s Journal: Redemption Is One Win Away For Hermantown

After Being Sidetracked By Covid In 2021, Hawks Are Back

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2022 - 5:23 PM


The Hermantown Hawks share one final moment before taking the ice in the state semifinals.

The circle is almost complete for the Hermantown boys hockey team. The Hawks are one win away from a Class A state championship, which would help with the healing after last season ended at the ugly hands of Covid-19.

After Hermantown qualified for the 2021 state tournament, much of the varsity roster was sidelined by Covid. Using mostly junior varsity players, the Hawks were defeated by Dodge County 7-3 in the state quarterfinals. That was Hermantown’s second loss after 19 wins.

“It was a terrible feeling last year,” said Hermantown junior Ty Hanson, who had a goal and three assists in the Hawks’ 7-1 semifinal win over Alexandria.

Hermantown, which qualified for state for the first time in 1994, is at the tournament for the 17th time. The Hawks were champions in 2007, 2016 and 2017. They will take a record of 28-2 into Saturday’s noon matchup with Warroad.

Hermantown’s only losses this season were against Cretin-Derham Hall and Maple Grove, two Class 2A state tournament teams.

Warroad’s 2021 season ended with a section tournament loss to East Grand Forks. The Warriors, who slipped past Mahtomedi 5-4 in overtime Saturday, are at state for the 23rd time; their first trip was in 1948. The Warriors won state titles in 1994, 1996, 2003 and 2005.

Warroad has a record of 26-3-1. They lost at Hermantown 2-1 in overtime on January 15 and also lost to 2A teams Roseau and Wayzata.

The Warriors are hoping to give their hometown a second high school state championship in three weeks. The Warriors girls won the Class 1A title at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 26 with a 6-1 win over Proctor/Hermantown.

There are many family ties between the Warroad teams. For example, boys coach Jay Hardwick’s daughter Emerson was an eighth-grader on the state championship girls team.

“There's a lot of intertwined stories between the two teams,” Jay Hardwick said. “Seeing them do it a couple weeks ago obviously was very special and meant a lot to everybody. And I think all these guys knew in the back of their head that, you know what? … we can put ourselves in a position to do the exact same thing.”

Warroad’s Road Warriors

The Warroad band played in Warroad on Thursday night during a boys basketball section tournament game, rode a school bus to Wadena for the night, and headed to St. Paul on Friday morning, arriving in plenty of time for the Warriors’ 11 a.m. boys hockey state semifinal game. The Warroad basketball team defeated Menahga 71-39 and will play at Thief River Falls on Saturday at 7 p.m.

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at  

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