North Star Academy-Alexandria

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BSUBeaver
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North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by BSUBeaver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:57 pm

A couple of local articles from the Alexandria Echo Press regarding the hockey program at the new North Star Academy in Alexandria. Sounds like the Academy will be looking more nation wide for players rather than local.

http://www.echopress.com/sports/hockey/ ... key-league

http://www.echopress.com/sports/hockey/ ... -cardinals

Bonin2121
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Post by Bonin2121 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:18 pm

Good luck

OldManRiver
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Post by OldManRiver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:08 pm

I'm in no way an expert, but it seems that Alexandria has it's youth and high school programs finding success. Is there a sub-story that we're not getting out of these articles?

BSUBeaver
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Post by BSUBeaver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:22 pm

OldManRiver wrote:I'm in no way an expert, but it seems that Alexandria has it's youth and high school programs finding success. Is there a sub-story that we're not getting out of these articles?
Nothing that I am aware of, but my kiddos are just getting started in the hockey program. Alexandria, for the last few years, has been the "National Headquarters" for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes hockey program and summer camps. Recently some citizens of the area have gotten together and started the North Star Christian Academy as a place where students could take some Christian based classes. Those citizens and the FCA are now pairing up to create a Christian Academy.

Alex does have a fairly successful hockey program as of late. I don't think they will lose a lot of kids to the Academy unless there is a playing time issue. Minnesota has a very strong and well respected High School Hockey program among the Junior Hockey an College Hockey Ranks, so that is why I think most will stay at the high school level and most of the athletes will come from outside the area.

There are some concerns in the community though about what this will do to the High School program since it is an unknown at this time and Alex is coming off their Class A runner up finish.

zooomx
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Post by zooomx » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:37 pm

BSUBeaver wrote:
OldManRiver wrote:I'm in no way an expert, but it seems that Alexandria has it's youth and high school programs finding success. Is there a sub-story that we're not getting out of these articles?
Nothing that I am aware of, but my kiddos are just getting started in the hockey program. Alexandria, for the last few years, has been the "National Headquarters" for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes hockey program and summer camps. Recently some citizens of the area have gotten together and started the North Star Christian Academy as a place where students could take some Christian based classes. Those citizens and the FCA are now pairing up to create a Christian Academy.

Alex does have a fairly successful hockey program as of late. I don't think they will lose a lot of kids to the Academy unless there is a playing time issue. Minnesota has a very strong and well respected High School Hockey program among the Junior Hockey an College Hockey Ranks, so that is why I think most will stay at the high school level and most of the athletes will come from outside the area.

There are some concerns in the community though about what this will do to the High School program since it is an unknown at this time and Alex is coming off their Class A runner up finish.
I echo much of this. Youth program is in great shape, doubling in size the past 10 years or so. My opinion is that the FCA team will draw nationwide as it should be a safe Christian environment to send kids to play that level of hockey. If a local family has the choice of playing on a super strong Minnesota High School team, or play on a travelling team that sends their kid all over the midwest and/or country with the expense involved, they probably will stick with high school. Possibly, we lose an elite level player every now and then, but I think this will be a tough team to make. I don't think families who are concerned about playing time will have a skater good enough to make the team.

Again, this is my opinion based primarily on speculation. I do love the FCA program and many of us are happy to have them headquartered here in Alexandria. I think a lot of the "worries" in the community are based on lack of information. We will see.

Stang5280
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Post by Stang5280 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:27 am

I don’t think that the level of play in this league will be stellar at the start. As a point of reference, Fountain Valley School (one of the other league members) is a boarding school here in Colorado that primarily competes against so-so AAA teams, but also plays some games against Colorado high schools. Regis Jesuit, the 2018 CHSAA state champs, rolled over FVS 7-1 early this past season. Regis lost to Marquette University HS 4-0 during a tournament in Chicago in January. Marquette is a solid Wisconsin program, but nowhere near competing for a state title. That should give some context of how good the teams are that will be entering the league.

The NAHL backing should make these schools more attractive for potential recruits, but it won’t be like they are going to be playing at the level of a Shattuck or Culver anytime soon.

TheMNhockey1
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Post by TheMNhockey1 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:31 pm

Stang5280 wrote:I don’t think that the level of play in this league will be stellar at the start. As a point of reference, Fountain Valley School (one of the other league members) is a boarding school here in Colorado that primarily competes against so-so AAA teams, but also plays some games against Colorado high schools. Regis Jesuit, the 2018 CHSAA state champs, rolled over FVS 7-1 early this past season. Regis lost to Marquette University HS 4-0 during a tournament in Chicago in January. Marquette is a solid Wisconsin program, but nowhere near competing for a state title. That should give some context of how good the teams are that will be entering the league.
That Regis Jesuit team also beat Edina JGA 6-1 and got 2nd in the national high school tournament just for more reference https://nationals.usahockey.com/tournam ... 1818000037

Stang5280
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Post by Stang5280 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:36 pm

TheMNhockey1 wrote:
Stang5280 wrote:I don’t think that the level of play in this league will be stellar at the start. As a point of reference, Fountain Valley School (one of the other league members) is a boarding school here in Colorado that primarily competes against so-so AAA teams, but also plays some games against Colorado high schools. Regis Jesuit, the 2018 CHSAA state champs, rolled over FVS 7-1 early this past season. Regis lost to Marquette University HS 4-0 during a tournament in Chicago in January. Marquette is a solid Wisconsin program, but nowhere near competing for a state title. That should give some context of how good the teams are that will be entering the league.
That Regis Jesuit team also beat Edina JGA 6-1 and got 2nd in the national high school tournament just for more reference https://nationals.usahockey.com/tournam ... 1818000037
RJ is certainly a decent team, and I know they have actually won that tournament in the past and have some talented players. That said, it is hard to gauge much from those games since none of the high schools from the premier hockey states participate. I have attended a handful of Colorado HS games, and the level of play is noticeably below that of your average MN teams (and it tends to be quite chippy). I know that Centennial has made one or two summer trips to Colorado and toyed with some of the better HS and AAA teams. Most of the better players leave early for juniors, so the talent pool isn’t what it could be at the high school level.

Anyway, my overarching point about Fountain Valley was that the NAHL prep league isn’t going to set the world on fire right out of the gate, and shouldn’t pose a significant threat to the MSHSL teams.

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Post by kniven » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:53 pm

In Cloquet, the NAHL moved in a few years back. CEC high school hockey has lost 1 kid early choosing to play with the Wilderness rather than his buddies.

blueline_6
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Post by blueline_6 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:57 pm

Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.

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Post by zooomx » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:56 pm

blueline_6 wrote:Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.
I think it has been quite a while (10years?) since he formally worked with the program, although I heard lots of great things about him.

A lot of the success can be attributed to a really strong pipeline of good coaches (boys and girls side) who really "buy in" to ADM. The group in high school now, were Mites when the program adopted ADM and shifted heavily towards small area drills, increased puck touches, etc. The board and coaches took a lot of hits for "not winning" at Mites and Squirts, but it has been fun to see the results of a deep group of talent players emerge at the high school level.

BSUBeaver
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Post by BSUBeaver » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:02 pm

blueline_6 wrote:Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.
My son had a power skating class with him last spring.

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Post by O-townClown » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:43 pm

kniven wrote:In Cloquet, the NAHL moved in a few years back. CEC high school hockey has lost 1 kid early choosing to play with the Wilderness rather than his buddies.
Relevance?

NAHL is a pretty old league compared to Minnesota HS hockey.

Alexandria Varsity, coming off a great season at Class A, is certainly a better draw than NAHL Prep in its first season. In time I can't imagine this league ever reaching the level of MIDWEST Prep Hockey League. The FCA angle will attract players, but not as an alternative to higher level hockey like NAPHL, T1EHL, and New England boarding schools.
Be kind. Rewind.

zooomx
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Post by zooomx » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:06 pm

BSUBeaver wrote:
blueline_6 wrote:Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.
My son had a power skating class with him last spring.
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.

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Post by BSUBeaver » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:20 pm

zooomx wrote:
BSUBeaver wrote:
blueline_6 wrote:Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.
My son had a power skating class with him last spring.
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.
Yes it was through the figure skating program. Don't know if Bob is involved again this year, but I know they are offering it again. The time scheduled for my son didn't fit our schedule, so we didn't sign up.... :cry:

BSUBeaver
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Post by BSUBeaver » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 pm

zooomx wrote:
BSUBeaver wrote:
blueline_6 wrote:Anyone know if Bob Vraa is still working with the Alexandria youth program? Having a skating instructor of his caliber in your community has to be a nice benefit.
My son had a power skating class with him last spring.
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.
zoomx- My daughter is taking some skating lessons this summer and she has Bob Vraa as an instructor.

greenwayraider
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by greenwayraider » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:17 pm

Former Greenway goalie Ville Hyttinen is playing for the the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American 3 Hockey League. Is this the same team as North Star Academy?

elliott70
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by elliott70 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:22 pm

no

WarmUpTheBus
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Re:

Post by WarmUpTheBus » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:19 pm

BSUBeaver wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 pm
zooomx wrote:
BSUBeaver wrote:
My son had a power skating class with him last spring.
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.
zoomx- My daughter is taking some skating lessons this summer and she has Bob Vraa as an instructor.
I assume Bob Vraa is the late Dick Vraa's son or nephew. A friend of mine tells a funny story about Dick Vraa. My friend spent a couple seasons playing for the North Stars in the 1970's. As the players took the ice for a training camp practice the coaches told them that they were bringing in a skating coach to teach them some of the finer points of skating. The players thought it was ridiculous given they were professional hockey players and already had mastered skating. Then the skating coach Dick Vraa shows up. Dick had lost an eye so here is this guy no one ever heard of with a black eye patch, wearing figure skates ready to teach these veteran hockey players how to skate. My friend said at the end of their hour with Dick the players all agreed they never realized how little they knew about skating. Needless to say, my kids went to Dick's clinics.

BSUBeaver
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by BSUBeaver » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:48 pm

greenwayraider wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:17 pm
Former Greenway goalie Ville Hyttinen is playing for the the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American 3 Hockey League. Is this the same team as North Star Academy?
We are hosting an Alexandria Blizzard player this year and have gotten to watch Ville play. He has saved the Blizzard a few times in games, making some incredible saves. A nice addition to the team this year.

And as elliot said, the Blizzard of the NA3HL are not the same as the North Star Academy Knights in the NAHL Prep League. The Knights are more of a AAA team, while the Blizzard are in the Tier 3 league, behind the USHL and NAHL.

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Re: Re:

Post by BSUBeaver » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:15 pm

WarmUpTheBus wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:19 pm
BSUBeaver wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 pm
zooomx wrote:
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.
zoomx- My daughter is taking some skating lessons this summer and she has Bob Vraa as an instructor.
I assume Bob Vraa is the late Dick Vraa's son or nephew. A friend of mine tells a funny story about Dick Vraa. My friend spent a couple seasons playing for the North Stars in the 1970's. As the players took the ice for a training camp practice the coaches told them that they were bringing in a skating coach to teach them some of the finer points of skating. The players thought it was ridiculous given they were professional hockey players and already had mastered skating. Then the skating coach Dick Vraa shows up. Dick had lost an eye so here is this guy no one ever heard of with a black eye patch, wearing figure skates ready to teach these veteran hockey players how to skate. My friend said at the end of their hour with Dick the players all agreed they never realized how little they knew about skating. Needless to say, my kids went to Dick's clinics.
I believe Bob is Dick's son. Both my son and daughter have taken some lessons from him, and even though they are 8 and 10, they have picked up a lot.

blueline_6
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Re: Re:

Post by blueline_6 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:37 pm

WarmUpTheBus wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:19 pm
BSUBeaver wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 pm
zooomx wrote:
Was that through the figure skating program? I know they have been offering some classes like that targeted for hockey players.
zoomx- My daughter is taking some skating lessons this summer and she has Bob Vraa as an instructor.
I assume Bob Vraa is the late Dick Vraa's son or nephew. A friend of mine tells a funny story about Dick Vraa. My friend spent a couple seasons playing for the North Stars in the 1970's. As the players took the ice for a training camp practice the coaches told them that they were bringing in a skating coach to teach them some of the finer points of skating. The players thought it was ridiculous given they were professional hockey players and already had mastered skating. Then the skating coach Dick Vraa shows up. Dick had lost an eye so here is this guy no one ever heard of with a black eye patch, wearing figure skates ready to teach these veteran hockey players how to skate. My friend said at the end of their hour with Dick the players all agreed they never realized how little they knew about skating. Needless to say, my kids went to Dick's clinics.
Bob is Dick's son. I went to Dick's power skating schools as a youth player, and was also a friend of Bob's in elementary/middle school.

elliott70
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by elliott70 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:25 pm

BSU or others
Any more local comments on the academy?

BSUBeaver
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by BSUBeaver » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:02 pm

elliott70 wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:25 pm
BSU or others
Any more local comments on the academy?
I haven't really heard much. There was an article in the local paper where they won a tournament in Chicago last weekend. But outside of that.....

zooomx
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Re: North Star Academy-Alexandria

Post by zooomx » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:32 pm

I see they beat Shattuck's U18AAA team yesterday 1-0 and play them again today. They have been looking really good as of late. They have some really good coaches. In terms of the community, everything seems to have settled down. Youth program is really happy to have access to an extra sheet of ice as it was badly needed with the growth of Alex Hockey. The youth program was also able to nearly double the amount of teams they host in winter tournaments due to the extra sheet. I have never felt like they were a threat to the high school program, and the 2 players from Alex who play for them possible would have left anyway. One was attracted to the Christian aspect, and one was seeking out juniors somewhere anyway. We will see how it plays out the next few years, but I believe it is definitely a big net positive for the community.

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