The Hermantown Thread

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karl(east)
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The Hermantown Thread

Post by karl(east) » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:07 am

Because most threads that are even semi-related to Hermantown on this forum tend to get hijacked, Lee and I have agreed on the need for a Hermantown-specific thread to handle this topic. We've used this method in the past when having similar issues with discussions of private schools and it seemed to help channel things in the right direction, so we'll do it again.

This thread is your place to discuss anything related to Hermantown's status as a Class A team or open enrollment into Hermantown. Other Hermantown topics such as their performance in games, the 7A picture, and notable things about players or coaches can (and should) still be discussed on other threads, but any attempt to turn those discussions to the aforementioned topics will result in deletion, if not more.

Normal forum standards for civility and discussion of topics involving minors still apply. Have at it, I guess, if this is your thing.

rainier2
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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:09 am

Now that this topic has its forever home, I’ll open the discussion with an overview. I invite anyone interested to please correct me where I may have erred, but I ask that you do it specifically, and not just with general insults, which will likely get nuked by the moderators anyway.

Brief History

Hermantown was a hockey program with a history of little success, which is not too surprising, given they shared a region with the Iron Range powers, East, and Cloquet. Then Class A came into being in 1993, and Hermantown started going to state on a semi-regular basis. Then, in 2005, the Hawks began a run of 10 tourneys in 12 years, in which they won 3 titles, 6 seconds, and a 3rd place.

During their run of 10 in 12 years, they would lose to private schools, usually in the title game. This led to their coach publicly complaining that it wasn’t fair that the metro private schools could get kids from a huge metro area while all he had was hometown kids. Most HS hockey fans, myself included, loved that he spoke the truth and cheered hard for Hermantown to knock off the big city schools that were making a mockery of Class A hockey.

Finally, in 2007, a fantastic group of Hawks won it all, going 29-0-2, but this win was over tiny Warroad, and not a metro private. But, as their overall run progressed, Hermantown got better and deeper. Their program improved, and more and more players from the surrounding communities started open enrolling and transferring there. When MN Youth Hockey decided to have AA and A classes, Hermantown’s program was strong enough that they opted up to AA, as they do to this day. But, the HS team stayed in single A.

STA went AA, and Hermantown had their chance, but an incredible EGF team steamrolled them in the title game one year, and the following year EGF beat them again, although the Hawks were likely the more talented team. Even with their metro private nemesis gone, they still couldn’t break through. Despite this, there were stirrings that if Hermantown was good enough to make it to the state title game 6 years in a row, then they should probably be in AA.

With EGF’s great class gone, Hermantown at last got back to the top. They beat the eventual AA champ, Wayzata, in the regular season, and outscored their three tourney opponents 23-4, including a 5-0 drubbing of hated Breck. The next season, they again beat the eventual AA champ, Grand Rapids, during the regular season, and had to win in overtime in all three state games to win the title, despite outshooting their opponents by a 174-76 margin. This entire time, the calls to go to AA grew louder and louder, from both forum nobodies such as myself, and from MN hockey dignitaries such as Lou Nanne, Mark Parrish, Karl, and the state tourney broadcast guy with the little black circular glasses whose head is shaped exactly like a pumpkin.

So that’s the history as I see it. Now, here is what seems to pop up again and again in different threads.

Before I get to the arguments, I’ll first give a few points of agreement, as weird as that may seem:

1. Nearly everyone, pro and con, agree that Hermantown has an excellent hockey program.
2. Almost everyone, pro and con, agrees that Hermantown should be in AA.
3. None of the A/AA controversy is the fault of the players, and they should be congratulated on their success, no matter what level it is at.

So, with this history in mind, here are some of the current points of contention, as I see them:

1. The con side feels open enrollment and transfers have a lot to do with the Hawks’ dominance in A and that without that extra talent, they would be a solid A team, but not nearly the force they have been. The pros bristle at this notion and feel that it diminishes their accomplishments. Many of them feel that open enrollment/transfers have had little effect and that it is the Hermantown hockey machine that takes 600 kids and makes them one of the best in the state, A or AA.

2. The cons claim Hermantown recruits surrounding players at youth levels, and have publicly posted minutes from Herm youth meetings to prove it is an issue within the association. The cons have either called this fake news, or have claimed that this is private information that should not be posted publicly.

3. The pros feel that it’s not so much that Hermantown is getting better, it’s that the other teams in 7A are getting worse and that they have “lame a$$” programs, as one con put it. The cons then point out that not only has Hermantown now beaten the eventual AA champ two years in a row, but they still continue to compete well with juggernauts like Tonka and EP, even though the Hawks are in a “down” year this year. Further, the cons point out that 7A has been much, much stronger the last 4 years, with Denfeld, Marshall, Hibbing, Greenway, and Virginia all having top ten teams in A, with Greenway, Hibbing, and Marshall having teams that were likely top 5, at least.

4. The pros feel that getting some top talent from Proctor or Duluth school districts is irrelevant, as they still only have an enrollment of 600. The cons counter this by stating that if you get these players from outside your school district, you have effectively increased your enrollment significantly, and most other outstate A teams do not have access to a metro population of 150,000 right on their doorstep, so it is a huge advantage for the Hawks.

5. The cons feel that since Plante railed publicly against big city schools dominating in A, then his (former) team should be held to the same scrutiny. The pros feel that Hermantown is small town hockey, and is nothing like those metro schools that used to beat them in title games. The cons state that Hermantown is now very much like those metro teams, as they draw talent from a huge pool yet can hide behind a small enrollment.

I guess that’s a start. Hopefully any errors or omissions I made will be corrected soon.

wolfman
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Post by wolfman » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:22 am

Karl and Lee are East fans to the end. I think they don’t won’t Hermantown to be in the 7AA mix any way shape or form. If Hermantown town ever moved up with the big boys East would have some problems so they protect them intended and unintended on the Forum. I don’t fault them in any way. If I had the power of this Forum and I could protect my hometown team I would do the same thing. I might be way out in left field on this take but I think I’m not! Keep up the good work boys 😏

Yuge
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Post by Yuge » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:36 am

wolfman wrote:Karl and Lee are East fans to the end. I think they don’t won’t Hermantown to be in the 7AA mix any way shape or form. If Hermantown town ever moved up with the big boys East would have some problems so they protect them intended and unintended on the Forum. I don’t fault them in any way. If I had the power of this Forum and I could protect my hometown team I would do the same thing. I might be way out in left field on this take but I think I’m not! Keep up the good work boys 😏
7AA is already fun to watch but imagine if Hermantown was in it?!?! Epic!!

SpOilerfan
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Post by SpOilerfan » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:43 am

wolfman wrote:Karl and Lee are East fans to the end. I think they don’t won’t Hermantown to be in the 7AA mix any way shape or form. If Hermantown town ever moved up with the big boys East would have some problems so they protect them intended and unintended on the Forum. I don’t fault them in any way. If I had the power of this Forum and I could protect my hometown team I would do the same thing. I might be way out in left field on this take but I think I’m not! Keep up the good work boys 😏
Beating a team in the regular season is a whole lot different than winning in the playoffs. Until they beat any AA team in a section game those comments are hogwash, play the big boys and find out, heck East, Grand Rapids had a bigger crowd in section final than the Herms did in state, win in that environment than you can talk big, until than prepare for the onslaught, and those range schools with declining enrollment deserve better!

kniven
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Post by kniven » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:49 am

wolfman wrote:Karl and Lee are East fans to the end. I think they don’t won’t Hermantown to be in the 7AA mix any way shape or form. If Hermantown town ever moved up with the big boys East would have some problems so they protect them intended and unintended on the Forum. I don’t fault them in any way. If I had the power of this Forum and I could protect my hometown team I would do the same thing. I might be way out in left field on this take but I think I’m not! Keep up the good work boys 😏[/quote

If Hermantown moves to 7AA, my CEC Lumberjacks will have an even more difficult time winning the section and moving on to state. Hermantown would be the premier power in 7AA, not Duluth East. They would have to prove it, of course. But I have no doubt. Luckily -being a fan of CEC isn’t based on winning every year. I love the kids and the opportunity. We are generally underdogs in 7AA fighting an uphill battle. That’s ok though. :)

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Post by pekyman » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:14 am

2019-20

kniven
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Post by kniven » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:22 am

East and Hermantown battles every year! It would be epic that’s for sure

pekyman
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Post by pekyman » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:50 am

As much as I think that all private schools should play AA, I think it would be hilarious if Marshall moved to A when Herm goes to AA. The look on Jeffy and rain man's face would be priceless. Their recent love for Marshall would fade real fast.

rainier2
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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm

pekyman wrote:As much as I think that all private schools should play AA, I think it would be hilarious if Marshall moved to A when Herm goes to AA. The look on Jeffy and rain man's face would be priceless. Their recent love for Marshall would fade real fast.
It's certainly possible. What's also possible is that once the automatic trip to state no longer exists for Hermantown when they join 7AA, the open-enrollment and transfer stream could dry up, exposing them for what they are if they only have players that actually live in Hermantown: a very good single A team, not a dominant one, and certainly not a AA caliber one.

Now there's a look that would be priceless...

Also, Marshall never falsely claimed to be "small town hockey", so it'd be easier to swallow dominance from them. But, I don't see it happening, for the Toppers are having a pretty solid year thanks to some former Hermantown players who have now set the precedent that you can benefit from the Hermantown youth program but still go do well at Marshall in AA.

Goose21
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Post by Goose21 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:06 pm

[quote="kniven"

If Hermantown moves to 7AA, my CEC Lumberjacks will have an even more difficult time winning the section and moving on to state. Hermantown would be the premier power in 7AA, not Duluth East. They would have to prove it, of course. But I have no doubt. Luckily -being a fan of CEC isn’t based on winning every year. I love the kids and the opportunity. We are generally underdogs in 7AA fighting an uphill battle. That’s ok though. :)[/quote]




kniven,

Please explain how you came to this conclusion
Forecheck, Backcheck, Paycheck

zooomx
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Post by zooomx » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:13 pm

Why did Hermantown cross the road?

It didn't... it was too chicken.


A Hermantown dad, a Moose Lake dad, and a Proctor dad each walk into a rough bar. Who walks out?

Three Hermantown dads

Ah... just having fun. I have commented all I care to on this topic. Have fun guys.

elliott70
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Post by elliott70 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:30 pm

zooomx wrote:Why did Hermantown cross the road?

It didn't... it was too chicken.


A Hermantown dad, a Moose Lake dad, and a Proctor dad each walk into a rough bar. Who walks out?

Three Hermantown dads

Ah... just having fun. I have commented all I care to on this topic. Have fun guys.
:lol:

rainier2
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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:49 pm

Goose21 wrote:[quote="kniven"

If Hermantown moves to 7AA, my CEC Lumberjacks will have an even more difficult time winning the section and moving on to state. Hermantown would be the premier power in 7AA, not Duluth East. They would have to prove it, of course. But I have no doubt. Luckily -being a fan of CEC isn’t based on winning every year. I love the kids and the opportunity. We are generally underdogs in 7AA fighting an uphill battle. That’s ok though. :)



kniven,

Please explain how you came to this conclusion[/quote]

I agree that life will get tougher for Cloquet once Hermantown moves to 7AA, but I can't imagine East should be too worried. If Hermantown is able to continue to attract the same amount of nearby talent or even increase it, then they should be able to take down East on occasion, but dominance over them? I can't see it.

It will be very, very interesting to see what happens to the inflow of talent once Hermantown is in AA. Will players still flock because the program is so solid? Or will the loss of an automatic state berth take away some of the shine?

kniven
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Post by kniven » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:50 pm

Goose21 wrote:[quote="kniven"

If Hermantown moves to 7AA, my CEC Lumberjacks will have an even more difficult time winning the section and moving on to state. Hermantown would be the premier power in 7AA, not Duluth East. They would have to prove it, of course. But I have no doubt. Luckily -being a fan of CEC isn’t based on winning every year. I love the kids and the opportunity. We are generally underdogs in 7AA fighting an uphill battle. That’s ok though. :)



kniven,

Please explain how you came to this conclusion[/quote]

Well. My bride and family are from Hermantown. I know hockey people, parents, and kids, and coaches in Hermantown. I talk to lots of people. I see, first hand, every year their youth and high school puck pretty much dominate against 218 hockey = section 7 A and AA. They just keep coming and never stop when on the ice. Big, strong, and talent everywhere. That’s how :(. Unfortunately.....

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Post by northwoods oldtimer » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:58 pm

wolfman wrote:Karl and Lee are East fans to the end. I think they don’t won’t Hermantown to be in the 7AA mix any way shape or form. If Hermantown town ever moved up with the big boys East would have some problems so they protect them intended and unintended on the Forum. I don’t fault them in any way. If I had the power of this Forum and I could protect my hometown team I would do the same thing. I might be way out in left field on this take but I think I’m not! Keep up the good work boys 😏
East wouldn't shy away from taking on the Hermantown teams as they play them at youth levels. I know a fair amount of folks from Roseau and Rapids enjoy the challenge of competing at AA level and a shot at going to state. Might be a long gap for those programs in going but when they go its usually a pretty decent showing! CEC has some good teams and should make a run at a state bid this year and next couple of years. I hope that they can break through one of these years. Hopefully Greenway can take out the Goliath that is the Hermantown juggernaut this season in an epic upset even if its for the little title would be nice to see! Hockey is a rich mans sport nowadays so not much will change in who makes the trip to St. Paul. Money dictates the success and you have to be affluent to play the sport today.

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:46 pm

When looking at the future prospects of a HS program I immediately go to the youth website and see how many teams they are fielding and what the records are like. First thing I look for is a pyramid, 6 Squirt teams, 5 Pee Wee teams, 4 Bantam teams, as opposed to an inverted pyramid where you have more Pee Wee teams than Squirt teams. The next thing I look at is depth, not just how the top team is doing but also the second team.

So I look at how Hermantown's Bantam A team has performed over the last several years and the results are not pretty. I actually had the occasion to see the Bantam A team a couple of times last season and they looked overmatched for A level hockey, probably would have been better served at B1. The Bantam AA team does very well, but how much of that success is the result of having transfer players (who more often than not tend to be stars) versus homegrown talent leading the way. What if the transfers completely dried up and the top Hermantown team was a combination of some of the current AA players and the better A players?

IMO, Hermantown lacks the depth that the large AA programs have. You don't see a massive drop off in results from AA to A to B1, etc. at the top programs in the state. It speaks to the depth that they have, depth that is needed when players peak early and plateau as sophomores instead of as seniors, top players depart early for juniors, etc.

This analysis does not look at specific players or specific classes, just a general overall picture of the program, its depth and results, not just results of the top teams but the results of the second and third teams in a division. I think a move to AA would slowly erode the program and you would begin to see depth issues. There would be HS teams that would contend, but there would also be peaks and valleys like most other programs experience as special classes come through the system. In other words, Hermantown would eventually become just another AA program.

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Post by kniven » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:05 pm

I think Hermantown’s attracts more kids to come play for them when/if they opt up. As a AA program, they would be the darlings of the state of hockey. I’m in Hermantown often. A great town, school, tax base, and a great sports community right next to Duluth. The Edina of northern Minnesota but better.

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Post by SCBlueLiner » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:10 pm

kniven wrote:I think Hermantown’s attracts more kids to come play for them when/if they opt up. As a AA program, they would be the darlings of the state of hockey. I’m in Hermantown often. A great town, school, tax base, and a great sports community right next to Duluth. The Edina of northern Minnesota but better.
That very well could happen too.

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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:16 pm

SCBlueLiner wrote:
kniven wrote:I think Hermantown’s attracts more kids to come play for them when/if they opt up. As a AA program, they would be the darlings of the state of hockey. I’m in Hermantown often. A great town, school, tax base, and a great sports community right next to Duluth. The Edina of northern Minnesota but better.
That very well could happen too.
Agreed. That is why the opt up, when/if it happens will be so interesting. If they get even more talent, then they could be right there with East as a top 2 power, if they stay the same they would still make it to state, but probably only 2-3 per decade, and if they lose players, then they will likely never be higher than the #4 seed in 7AA.

I guess I'm hoping the result will answer the question as to how much the easy path to state influenced the open enrolling/transferring all these years.

This is why I started to view Hermantown as being very similar to a private school program, in that they don't really rely on their own enrollment or citizenry to make them as good as they are, they rely on people deciding to go there, and if that talent decides to go somewhere else, then a sharp fall is likely.

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Post by elliott70 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:28 pm

I have a question for those in the 'know'.

How many players on this year's varsity roster do not live in the Hermantown school district?

How many started playing for Hermantown youth hockey in
Bantams?
Peewees?

How many came to Hermantown when they were in high school?

Not debating whether HT should play AA or A, just trying to see if all these kids that move in there are the reason they are so good.

Duluthguy
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Post by Duluthguy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:40 pm

rainier2 wrote:Finally, in 2007, a fantastic group of Hawks won it all, going 29-0-2, but this win was over tiny Warroad, and not a metro private.
A slight correction (I'm not sure how much it changes the overall narrative): Hermantown defeated Duluth Marshall in the 2007 championship game.

That year, one semi-final was between private schools (Marshall and St. Thomas) and the other was between small northern Minnesota public schools (Hermantown and Warroad). So the championship game was a battle between a public school and a private. Hermantown's victory over Warroad came in the semi-finals.

rainier2
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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:46 pm

elliott70 wrote:I have a question for those in the 'know'.

How many players on this year's varsity roster do not live in the Hermantown school district?

How many started playing for Hermantown youth hockey in
Bantams?
Peewees?

How many came to Hermantown when they were in high school?

Not debating whether HT should play AA or A, just trying to see if all these kids that move in there are the reason they are so good.
Gotz and Watkins arrived as Pee Wees. Take them off this year's team and Hermantown drops significantly.

elliott70
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Post by elliott70 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:55 pm

rainier2 wrote:
elliott70 wrote:I have a question for those in the 'know'.

How many players on this year's varsity roster do not live in the Hermantown school district?

How many started playing for Hermantown youth hockey in
Bantams?
Peewees?

How many came to Hermantown when they were in high school?

Not debating whether HT should play AA or A, just trying to see if all these kids that move in there are the reason they are so good.
Gotz and Watkins arrived as Pee Wees. Take them off this year's team and Hermantown drops significantly.
But not open enrollees. Moved to Duluth area for Dad's jobs and moved into Hermantown.

So where should they have moved?
East end of Duluth? Perhaps.
West end of Duluth? Not likely.
Proctor, Two Harbors, Esko?

Take them off the roster? Take Grannis off DM? Take Worth off DEast?
You can say that about most good teams?

Any others?

rainier2
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Post by rainier2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:01 pm

elliott70 wrote:
rainier2 wrote:
elliott70 wrote:I have a question for those in the 'know'.

How many players on this year's varsity roster do not live in the Hermantown school district?

How many started playing for Hermantown youth hockey in
Bantams?
Peewees?

How many came to Hermantown when they were in high school?

Not debating whether HT should play AA or A, just trying to see if all these kids that move in there are the reason they are so good.
Gotz and Watkins arrived as Pee Wees. Take them off this year's team and Hermantown drops significantly.
But not open enrollees. Moved to Duluth area for Dad's jobs and moved into Hermantown.

So where should they have moved?
East end of Duluth? Perhaps.
West end of Duluth? Not likely.
Proctor, Two Harbors, Esko?

Take them off the roster? Take Grannis off DM? Take Worth off DEast?
You can say that about most good teams?

Any others?
Why didn't their families move to Coleraine, or TRF, or I-falls? Because it's not a large metro area, which makes it orders of magnitude easier for families to move there and find employment.

Also, the examples you gave, East and Marshall, are AA. Myself, and most people, understand that open enrolling and transferring are commonplace in AA, not in A.

The fact remains that if you take away the talent the open enrolls and transfers to Hermantown, their team is much less potent. How many A schools can you say this for? Little Falls? Hibbing? Luverne? It happens in these places, but it's not business as usual as it is in Hermantown.
Last edited by rainier2 on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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