State Boys & Girls Hockey Tournaments Preview

~ From the WIAA ~

THE STATE TOURNAMENTS:  The 51st Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Hockey State Tournament and the 20th Girls Hockey State Tournament will take place Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18 & 20. The championship finals for both boys divisions and the girls tournament will be held at South Wood County Rink in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices per tournament session are $13 and are only available online to member schools with teams qualifying for the State Tournaments. There is a six-ticket limit per participant. No general admission will be available at the venues during the tournament.

BOYS SCHEDULE:

Division 1

Semifinal – Thursday, Feb. 18 at Uihlein Ice Arena, River Hills
#1 University School of Milw. (24-2) vs. #4 Verona (15-6) – 7 p.m.
Semifinal – Thursday, Feb. 18 at Gornick Arena, Hudson
#2 Hudson (19-3) vs. #3 Notre Dame (15-3) – 7 p.m.

Championship – Saturday, Feb. 20 at South Wood County Rink
Semifinal Winners – 2:30 p.m.

Division 2

Semifinal – Thursday, Feb. 18 at Blue Line Family Ice, Fond du Lac
#1 St. Mary’s Springs (24-2) vs. #4 Somerset Co-op (15-11-1) – 7 p.m.
Semifinal – Thursday, Feb. 18 at Civic Center, Spooner
#2 Superior (10-5) vs. #3 Lakeland (13-4) – 7 p.m.

Championship – Saturday, Feb. 20 at South Wood County Rink
Semifinal Winners – 9:30 a.m.

 

GIRLS SCHEDULE:

Semifinal – Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Chippewa Falls Ice, Chippewa Falls
#1 Eau Claire North Co-op (12-4-1) vs. #4 University School of Milw. Co-op (17-3) – 3 p.m.
Semifinal – Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Greenheck Ice Arena, Schofield
#2 D.C. Everest Co-op (13-5) vs.  #4 Chippewa Falls Co-op (12-6-1) – 7 p.m.

Championship – Saturday, Feb. 20 at South Wood County Rink
Semifinal Winners – 12:10 p.m.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE AND PAIRINGS:  The single elimination boys tournament features four teams in two divisions. Each of the State semifinals will be played at different locations with the State finals at South Wood County Rink. The girls tournament also features four teams with semifinals played at two different venues and the final in Wisconsin Rapids. There were 73 boys teams and 24 girls teams at the beginning of the championship Tournament Series this year.

FINALS ON STATEWIDE TV NETWORK:  The finals of the boys and girls State Tournaments will be televised live on WKOW Madison, WAOW Wausau, WXOW La Crosse, WQOW Eau Claire, WYOW Eagle River, WMOW Crandon, WCWF in Green Bay/Fox Valley, KBJR Superior/Duluth and WMLW Milwaukee. The finals will also be streamed live on the State Television Network’s websites.

SEMIFINALS STREAMED ON NFHSNETWORK:  The boys and girls semifinals, will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network.  To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $10.99 per month, log-on to www.wiaa.tv or www.nfhsnetwork.com and click on the subscription button located on the page header. Archived streams of the sessions will be available On Demand on www.nfhsnetwork.com 72 hours after the tournament.

LAST YEAR:  Verona won the program’s first championship by downing Notre Dame 2-1 in overtime in the Division 1 championship game. St. Mary’s Springs was the champion in the first-ever Division 2 tournament, winning the program’s first title with a  5-1 victory over Northland Pines in the final. In the girls final, the co-op of Xavier/Appleton East/North/West/Fox Valley Lutheran/Freedom/Hortonville/Kaukauna/Kimberly/ Little Chute/Menasha/Neenah/New London/St. Mary Catholic/Two Rivers/Wrightstown captured its second straight championship with a 5-3 victory over Middleton/Dodgeville/Edgewood/Madison Memorial/Madison West/Mount Horeb/Verona co-op in the final.

TOURNAMENT TEAM HISTORY:  The first WIAA State boys hockey championship game was held in 1971. The tournament expanded to two divisions for the first time in 2020. The new format featured four teams qualifying for the State Tournament in each division. Superior won the first championship and has won 12 more since to give the Spartans a membership-leading 13 State titles. Madison Memorial has won eight titles, and Hudson and Madison East have won four. The first girls tournament was held in 2002. The D.C. Everest and Mosinee Co-op program has won three State crowns. Those came in 2008, 2012 and 2017. Hudson won the first two girls titles in 2002 and 2003, and one version of River Falls Co-op won championships in 2010 and 2011. Another River Falls configuration of the Co-op, with a different configuration of schools, skated to the title in 2009. One version of the Hayward Co-op won the title in 2013 and another version, adding three additional schools, won in 2016. The Xavier Co-op won back-to-back championships in 2019-20.

THE BOYS DIVISION 1 FIELD:  University School of Milwaukee is the top seed. The Wildcats return to State for the third straight season and for the 14th time overall. They have won three State titles. The program’s first championship came in 2006 and then added their second title in 2010. Their most recent championship came in 2019. This season, they return in pursuit of their fourth title after earning the title of champions of the Brookfield Sectional by edging the Kettle Moraine co-op 2-1 in the final. Second-seeded Hudson qualifies for the tournament for the 12th time and for the fifth time in the last six seasons. The Raiders have four State titles on their ledger. The first came in 2001 with the second coming in 2004. They then won back-to-back championships in 2017-18. They also advanced to the championship final in 2016 and finished runner-up. This season, they defeated Chippewa Falls 4-2 in the sectional final held in Wausau to continue their quest for a fifth championship. Last year’s runner-up Notre Dame is the third seed. The Tritons are making their third State appearance in the last four years and their eighth overall. Their first five appearances came consecutively from 2010-14. The Tritons’ one State championship came in 2012. They qualify this season following a 3-2 win over Bay Port in the sectional final hosted at Grand Chute. Defending champion Verona returns to State for the fourth consecutive season and for the 10th time overall. The Wildcats also advanced to the title game two years in a row back in 2013 and 2014, winning the title in 2014 and finishing runner-up in 2013. They advance to the State semifinals this season following a 5-2 triumph over Waunakee in the sectional final hosted in Onalaska.

THE BOYS DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Defending champion St. Mary’s Springs is the #1 seed. The Ledgers won the title in the first season they qualified as a stand-alone program. A co-op arrangement they were associated with qualified in 2018 and lost in the semifinals. They advance to the semifinals this season following a 4-0 shutout over Oregon in the final of the sectional played in Fond du Lac. Superior qualifies for the State Tournament for a membership-leading 38th time, and for the first time since 2015. They have won 13 State championships, which leads all schools. They won titles in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2015. In addition, they have finished runner-up an additional 11 times. The Spartans edged Rice Lake 3-2 in the sectional final held in Rice Lake to make their first appearance at State in Division 2. Third-seeded Lakeland makes its first appearance at State in program history. The Thunderbirds advance to the State semifinals by defeating Rhinelander/Three Lakes 5-1 in the final of the Mosinee Sectional final. The Somerset/St. Croix Falls/Osceola Valley Christian co-op is seeded fourth. It’s the second straight appearance for the Spartans after qualifying for the first time last season, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals. They earned a return trip to the State semifinals after skating by the Altoona co-op 2-1 in the sectional final held at Somerset.

THEGIRLSFIELD: The Eau Claire North/Altoona/Eau Claire Memorial/Fall Creek co-op has been issued the top seed in the tournament. The Stars will be making their second appearance at State. The first resulted in a State championship in 2018. They return to the semifinals with a 5-4  win over the Marshfield co-op in the sectional final played at Onalaska. The D.C. Everest/Marathon/Merrill/Mosinee/Wausau East/Wausau West co-op, the #2 seed, makes its third appearance in the past four seasons with this configuration of schools and its third overall. This version of the Storm fell in the semifinals in their first two appearances in 2018 and 2019. The co-op, without Marathon and Merrill, won three titles and made 10 State appearances. The three championships came in 2008, 2012 and 2017. They also advanced to the championship game in 2011 and finished runner-up. The Storm breezed past the Xavier Co-op 5-1 in the sectional final held at Grand Chute to advance to the semifinals. Chippewa Falls/McDonell Catholic/Menomonie is the third seed. The Sabers in this configuration of the co-op is making their first State appearance. A former co-op that didn’t included Menomonie made back-to-back appearances in 2007-08. Their experience in 2007 resulted in a runner-up appearance. They netted a 7-4 triumph over the River Falls co-op in the sectional final held at River Falls to earn their first berth in the tournament field in 13 seasons. University School/Divine Savior Holy Angels/Dominican/Milwaukee King/Nicolet/Shorewood/Whitefish Bay makes its first State Tournament appearance with this version of the co-op. Another form of the co-op, without Dominican and Milwaukee King, won the title in 2015 and finished runner-up in 2016.  Other co-op variants advanced to the semifinals in 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats outlasted the Arrowhead co-op, 3-2, in three overtimes to win the sectional final held in Fond du Lac to advance to the State semifinal round.

STATE SOUVENIR PROGRAMS ONLINE:  The souvenir programs for the 2021 winter State culminating events are available online and available to download and print at no cost. The State Boys & Girls Hockey Tournaments program with rosters of qualifying teams, history, records and schedule information can be accessed at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/Publications/Programs/2021hockey.pdf.

ORDER STATE TOURNAMENT APPAREL:  WIAA licensed apparel is available online for the 2021 State Boys & Girls Hockey Tournaments. To browse and purchase branded merchandise, visit the WIAA Store at: https://wiaahockey21.itemorder.com. Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at midnight.

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA:  Receive updates of the State Boys and Girls Hockey Tournaments on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaahockey. Also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.

NEED RESULTS?:  The quickest way to get State hockey results will be to access the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org and navigate to the respective hockey homepage.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]