Beyond the Playbook: CEC boy’s hockey transitioning to Section 7A next season

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The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (CEC) boy’s hockey team will be doing something they’ve never done before, becoming a class single A team for the first time in program history next season.

“It’s kind of a tough deal because we’ve been AA forever. My staff and I, we were we absolutely wanted to stay, but I fully support the decision,” said head coach Shea Walters.

“It’s tough to see, but no matter what level we’re at, we’re going to compete as hard as we can,” Walters continued.

With this new found change the Lumberjacks will join the section 7A roster of 10 teams.

Adding to their schedule next year conference opponents like Hermantown, Proctor, Duluth Denfeld and Rock Ridge among others.

“I’ve always thought it was super cool that we played in AA hockey. I mean it’s the best class in basically the country. If you think about high school hockey, Minnesota is where it’s out. I’ve always thought it’s awesome to be able to play in AA,” junior forward Joey Antonutti added.

“I’ll try to make the best of it and try to make it to the state tournament,” continued Antonutti.

Over the last decade CEC has struggled in the regular and post season, last appearing in the section 7AA final, and subsequently the Class AA state tournament in 2008.

This year however the team already boast an 11-6-1 record, three more wins than last season.

“We certainly put in a lot more work over the summer. I mean, that definitely contributed to it. Overall, inside the locker room, I feel like we just vibe a lot better together with each other and we get along a lot better,” added senior defender Lucas Rauner

Still the overall outcome for this change is to find consistent success throughout their program.

“I think the common theme is hopefully get to more section finals and more state tournaments. I think that’s the ultimate driver in this situation, so hopefully we do that and that’ll help drive success through the youth,” concluded Walters.