It will be a new look Redwood Valley Cardinals hockey team that takes to the ice this winter.
Former Head Coach Joe Stremcha is back running the show after a two-year absence and will look to build on a roster that sports some good young talent.
The Cards will have to replace their top two scorers from a season ago in foreign exchange standouts Axel Persson and Folke Bjorkman. Persson led the team with 30 points, including a team-high 21 goals, while Bjorkman finished with three goals and a team-high 14 assists.
Also gone is starting goalie Jack Hawton who played well in net, and forward TJ Crews (10 goals, seven assists).
The Cardinals are coming off of a 9-16 campaign, one that saw them lose a competitive 3-1 battle with Marshall in the Section 3A quarterfinals.
Defensemen Luke Ryan – coming off of a monster season for the BOLD football team – returns after scoring eight goals and picking up nine assists a season ago.
“Luke has a great hockey IQ and anticipation,” Stremcha said. “He’s one of the top players in the Section and will be a leader and mentor to the underclassmen moving up.”
Forwards Will O’Halloran (six goals, 10 assists) and Jed Hansen (10 goals, three assists) are also back.
“Will leads by example with his tenacious style of play, and Jed had a strong sophomore season and should progress even further as a junior,” said Stremcha.
Defensemen Cameran Sommers and Matthew Muetzel give the Cards size at the position along with Brody Plass, John Burman, Chad Riewer, Jaden Sandgren and Jordan Gibbs.
“Cameran and Matthew give us a nice strong core on defense,” Stremcha said, “They both will play a key role in bringing physicality to the blue line and protecting the slot. Chad (Riewer) is a talented player with the potential for a great rookie season.”
The Cards have some talent moving up from the ranks of a Bantam team that went 25-5 on the way to a Bantam ‘B’ District title. Those players include forwards Mason Clark, Carter Iwan, Chase Schablin, Aeneas Pacheco, Kaleb Serbus and Jayson Peyerl.
“Mason brings great speed to the ice and can create havoc in the offensive zone,” Stremcha said.
Veteran forwards Logan Prouty, Cordell Plass, DJ Sullivan, Riley Chambs and Ben Collins join newcomers Stian Vralstad and Preben Ulvang.
Kia Jacobson is the lone returning goaltender with some varsity experience and joins Joey Domeier who had a strong season in net for the Bantams and Rikard Willkens.
“We’ve got a great competition right now with Kia and Joey for the starting goaltender position,” Stremcha said. “Both of them bring unique qualities to the position and are being helped by the mentoring of former alumni Tyler Domeier and Parker Revier this season.”
The Cardinals defeated Worthington Tuesday 6-3.