Beyond the Playbook: Rock Ridge hockey team built off rich Iron Range history
What happens when two enemies become one? That question was answered this season when Eveleth-Gilbert and the Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl boys hockey programs consolidated into a new team called Rock Ridge
"I’m really excited, I never thought this day would come there was a ceremony where we were combining to figure out the name. I was never thinking I would be playing on this team. I was bummed out about that but now we are combining so that is exciting," Senior goalie Ian Kangas stated.
Settling on the name of Wolverines also took some brain storming. Know as "devils bears" by some, it was a perfect blend of Blue Devils and the Golden Bear mascots of both former teams, all in an effort to form a new team identity.
"We definitely want a good compete level and just being good guys. Just work hard, I think we got that out of the way already they are working hard, we got good kids, good student athletes. So I think that’s been said already and they have been doing a good job," head coach Ben Johnson exclaimed.
The name Rock Ridge also represents the foundations that the new schools and rink are built on. Overlooking three communities, standing together with a strong history of hockey, it’s an identity that senior Nick Troutwine hopes to help build upon.
"I think im just going to try and lead by example always try to do my hardest to push everyone beside me. Make sure everyone is putting in their best effort, going to make sure we have a good culture and just have a great year."
Home of the United State Hockey Hall of Fame and seven time state champions, Eveleth will look to raise their first state banner since 1998 and the first ever in Virginia at the state of the art Iron Trail Motors Event Center.
"We are geared up, we want to be at the Xcel [Energy] Center. Our goals are high we aren’t going to lay down for anybody so we want to get after it right away," coach Johnson finished off saying.
The Wolverines will drop the puck for their first ever game on November 30 against Greenway.