‘Tis the season to catch some holiday high school tournament action

All three Bulletin-area high schools have a number of teams playing in holiday tournaments this week and next. Here’s rundown of where everyone is headed.


A little old and a little new is on the docket for the Irondale teams in action this week. All three squads are playing in tournaments in which they have participated in the past but not necessarily last year.

The Irondale/St. Anthony Village boys hockey team has settled into a pattern where it plays in the Schwan Cup every other year and this is the year the Knights are back in.

Irondale also played in the Schwan Cup in 2011 and 2009. Last year, the Knights headed to Thief River Falls for the holiday break and in 2010 they played in a tournament in Duluth.

The Knights open the tournament, held at the Super Rink in Blaine, with a 5 p.m. game on Dec 26 against Bloomington Kennedy. Other teams in the Open Division are Spring Lake Park, Minneapolis, St. Michael-Albertville, Luverne, Marshall and Winona. The tournament continues with games in Blaine on Dec. 27 and 28. One game, the championship contest, will take place at Ridder Arena on the 28th.

For Irondale’s girls hockey team, the tournament and many of the opponents are very familiar. The Knights are playing in a tournament known this year as Walser’s Big Breakaway hosted by Edina High School and played at Braemar Arena. This is the sixth straight year that Irondale has participated in this event and the Knights have won the whole thing once, in 2009.

The Knights’ first game in this year’s event is on Dec. 26 against the host Hornets at 5 p.m. The tournament continues on Dec. 27 and 28.

Six of the eight teams in the tournament were ranked in last week’s polls. Hopkins was the highest at No. 3 in Class AA. Edina was fourth, Lakeville South eighth, Irondale 14th and Stillwater 15th. Warroad, the only Class A team in the field, was ranked fifth.

One team missing from this listing is Irondale’s boys basketball team. Head coach Jon DeMars decided a few years ago that playing three games in three days wasn't the best plan for the program so he stopped entering holiday tournaments. The last time Irondale’s boys hoops squad played in a holiday tournament was during the 2008-09 season.

Mounds View

The hockey teams from Mounds View head into action this week looking to make it back-to-back holiday tournament championships. Neither team is defending its championship because they’re playing in different tournaments but have a holiday-tournament winning streak to try and extend.

Mounds View’s boys hockey team won the Bronze Division of the Schwan Cup last year and as a reward was moved up into the Silver Division this year. The Mustangs begin their quest for the Silver title on Dec. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Super Rink in Blaine.

The tournament-opener for Mounds View is against a familiar foe in Suburban East Conference rival Roseville, which edged the Mustangs 3-2 on Dec. 12. Mounds View heads into the game looking to advance in the tournament and exact a measure of revenge against the Raiders.

The Schwan Cup continues on Dec. 27 and 28. Joining Mounds View and Roseville in the tournament field is another SEC team in Stillwater along with Lakeville South, Hopkins, Centennial, Eastview and Andover. Centennial is the lone ranked team in the tournament. The Cougars were 16th in last weekís Class AA state poll.

After playing in the Centennial tournament for more than 10 years, the Mounds View girls hockey made the jump to the Kaposia Classic in South St. Paul. The Mustangs won the Centennial tourney last year but aren’t back to defend the title.

Mounds View co-head coaches Christina Hanson and Aaron Moberg have South St. Paul ties and jumped at the chance to play in the Kaposia. Hanson played high school hockey at South St. Paul and later was an assistant coach for the Packers along with Moberg.

Mounds View’s first-round opponent has played in every Kaposia Classic and is also very familiar to the Mustangs. Roseville is one of three teams to play in every Kaposia, joining the host Packers and Hibbing/Chisholm.

The tournament runs Dec. 30, 31 and Jan. 1 at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul.

Other teams in the tournament include Hill-Murray, Lakeville North, Blake and Bloomington Jefferson/Kennedy. All eight teams in the tournament were ranked in the top 20 in their respective classes in last week’s state poll.

Turning to basketball, one Mounds View team is in a new tournament following a long run in a different event while the other is back in a familiar venue.

The Mustangs’ boys basketball team was a fixture at the Bethel University holiday tournament but this year is venturing into uncharted waters. Mounds View is playing in the two-day, four-team tournament at Windom High School.

Joining Mounds View in the tournament are Albert Lea, New Ulm and the host Eagles. In the first round on Dec. 27, Mounds View plays Albert Lea at 3 p.m. and New Ulm takes on Windom at 4:30 p.m. Day two of the tournament features the third-place game at 6 p.m. and the championship contest at 7:30 p.m.

Mounds View’s girls basketball team is in the Hill-Murray tournament for the second year in a row. The eight-team event runs Dec. 26-28.

The Mustangs face Robbinsdale Cooper at 6:30 p.m. in the first round. The other six teams in the tournament are Cretin-Derham Hall, Totino-Grace, Wayzata, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Duluth East and the host Pioneers.

St. Anthony Village

Athletes in four different sports at St. Anthony will play in holiday tournaments this week.

The boys basketball team returns to holiday-tournament action after a one-year hiatus. The Huskies are playing in a four-team event at Princeton High School on Dec. 27 and 28.

On day one, Totino-Grace and Becker tangle at 5:15 p.m. with St. Anthony and the host Tigers squaring off at 7 p.m. Day two features the third-place game at 5:15 p.m. and the championship tilt at 7 p.m.

The St. Anthony girls basketball team returns to the Roseville tournament for the third consecutive year. The Huskies are one of five teams (the others are Burnsville, Spring Lake Park, Andover and Roseville) that have played in all three years of the event.

St. Anthony, which finished sixth last year and fifth two seasons ago, takes on Cambridge-Isanti at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 27. The tournament continues with the second round on Dec 28 and the finals on Dec. 30.

The other teams in the field are Chanhassen, Spring Lake Park, Lakeville South, Andover, Burnsville and the host Raiders.

Turning to hockey, the Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village co-op girls team will enjoy home-ice advantage in its holiday event despite not being the host team.

After playing in a tournament in Austin, Minn., the past three seasons, the Panthers have switched to the Mid-Winter Border Battle hosted by Blaine High School at Fogerty Arena. The Panthers play all their home games at Fogerty.

The second-annual event features eight teams, three of which are from Wisconsin. The Central Wisconsin Storm, Hayward and Onalaska are making the trek west and join a field that also includes Orono, Forest Lake, Mankato East, the Panthers and the host Bengals.

SLP/SAV opens the tournament on Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. against Blaine. The Bengals were ranked 10th in last week’s Class AA poll. Orono was also ranked last week, sitting at No. 8 in Class A.

The tournament continues with the second and third rounds on Dec 27 and 28, respectively.

And as mentioned above, the Irondale/St. Anthony Village co-op boys hockey team is playing the Open Division of the Schwan Cup at the Super Rink in Blaine.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.


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