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Is There a Right Path to a State Championship?

By WYHA Player Development, Submitted to Minnesota Hockey, 04/26/16, 9:15AM CDT


Wayzata’s High School team won its first state title this season. One of the trademarks of this year’s team was their depth of talent and their ability to roll four lines. According to some of the parents, another signature characteristic of this team was strong team chemistry, no "superstar" mentality, with egos in control. They were supported by a good group of parents that had positive attitudes and that also contributed to the success of the team. The coaches were a huge part of this success as well. There seemed to be a real desire to bond a team, to celebrate success but also to take responsibility for mistakes and move forward.

Hockey fans, parents and players might jump to the conclusion that this deeply talented team was comprised of skaters that always played on the top “A” team throughout their youth hockey careers. Below are some interesting statistics about Wayzata’s championship team:


  • 13 Players played B hockey in their first year of Squirts (5 on B2 and 8 on B1)
  • 8 Players played B1 hockey their second year of Squirts.
  • 10 Players played on the Squirt A team their second year.


  • 5 Players played B2 hockey their first year of Peewees.
  • 10 Players played B1 hockey in their first year of Peewees.
  • 4 Players played Peewee B during their second year of Peewees.
  • 5 Players played "A" (#2 Peewee Team) during their second year of PeeWees.
  • 11 Players were on the top PeeWee team during their second year.


  • 1 Player played B2 his first year of Bantams.
  • 9 Players played B1 in their first year of Bantams.
  • 2 Players played Bantam "A" (#2 Bantam team) as first year Bantams.
  • 7 Players played on the top Bantam team their first year of Bantams.
  • 1 Player played B1 his second year of Bantams.
  • 5 Players played Bantam "A" (#2 Bantam team) their second year.
  • 13 Players played on the Top Bantam team as second year Bantams.

This information should inspire both parents and players to realize that just because you don’t make the top A team in Squirts, Peewees or even Bantams, doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish great things later in your hockey career. It should also help them understand that players develop at different speeds and perform in their own way at various levels.

Note that the lower level players varied from year to year, with players moving up and down throughout the six years of youth hockey. The critical point is that some kids start out making the A team in Squirts or Peewees, but over time, for whatever reason, their talents and skills reach their peak. While other kids who played B1 and B2 at lower levels, found passion for the game of hockey, continued to develop and improve and were able to make a top team later on in their youth career.

The key lesson to learn from the 2015-16 Wayzata High School varsity team is to keep working hard. If you enjoy playing hockey, don’t write yourself off when you don’t make the top “A” team in your younger years. If you are a parent, support your child’s interest in hockey no matter what team they are on. Don’t put too much pressure for them to make the top team and don’t overreact if they fall short of making the top team.

Realize that the youth hockey programs in Minnesota provide a unique opportunity for kids to play hockey with their close friends…at whatever level, and if they work hard enough, they might just find themselves in a position to play on a high school state championship team!

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