December 05, 2017 11:27 PM
Winning a state championship is something that every Minnesota state hockey team dreams of, but Grand Rapids lived it. The Thunderhawks claimed their first state title for the first time since 1980. However, a big part of the team's success all season was missing from that state tournament roster.
It was senior goaltender Gabe Holum. The netminder will captain the Thunderhawks for his second straight season, but he stood out even as a sophomore helping guide Grand Rapids to a third place state finish, which marked their first appearance in the state tournament since 2007.
"That first year - my sophomore year was pretty unreal," said Holum. "Doing that as a sophomore and playing in front of 20,000 people is something very few kids get to do and it was scary, but humbling at the same time."
Last season as a junior, Holum and former teammate Zach Stejskal split time between the pipes until the first round of section playoffs against Andover. That was when Holum injured his hamstring. He then had a different role on the team for the rest of the season.
"I think Gabe - his talent level in net is really great, but the thing about Gabe that sticks out is his presence in the locker room. He's really helping bring these guys up," said first-year Head Coach Chris Marinucci.
"First time I kinda raised my voice was during the second period of the Elk River game when it looked like our season was going to be over. I finally gave our guys a good yelling and then, I kinda kept it up from each period from there because I'm a little superstitious and I was thinking it was working," said Holum.
Watching from the bench instead of playing in the Halloween Machine's fairy tale ending last season wasn't ideal for Holum. He saw his teammates get the looks they needed to continue played hockey at the collegiate level and beyond, but he's not asking - what if? Instead, he's focused on how he can help this team this year in his senior season.
"He's a good captain and knows what he's doing. I strongly believe he will replace Zach," said senior forward Evan Mischke. "He played the whole first year before him and he's an unbelievable goalie, he's a top notch guy and he is going to do good this year."
"Each and every night, I just want to play my best. I know when I play my best so, hopefully I will be on top of my game every single night and give my a team a chance," said Holum.
Updated: December 05, 2017 11:27 PM
Created: December 05, 2017 11:14 PM
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