Hopkins park girls hockey start the season off with a bang

Charlie Shaw, Staff Reporter

The Hopkins Park girls hockey season kicked off last week, and they’re already off and running. 

Hopkins Park took on the Hutchinson Tigers in their home opener at the Recreation Outdoor Center (ROC), and the Royals walked away with a 4-3 overtime win. A top-shelf goal by captain Avery Shaw, junior, helped seal the game to give Park their first win of the season.

Other major contributions came from goaltender Evelyn Osland, junior, who made 22 saves on 25 shots, and goal scorers Lindsey Schuchard and Linden Loos, junior, and Lucy Johnson, freshman. 

The win in itself was great, but the mood at the game made it even better. Fans showed out in the cold along with the Hopkins Park youth program, which gave the crowd a burst of energy with their constant cheer. 

“The atmosphere at the game was really encouraging for me and my teammates,” Schuchard said. “It’s really fun and motivating when people come out to the games.”

The ROC is the outdoor rink in St. Louis Park, and it draws a lot of attention from local media and Minnesota hockey lovers. The new 8.5 million dollar facility is the home of Hopkins Park along with Minnetonka City Hall rinks A and B. 

The state of the art facility was created to maintain a low operating budget with innovative and sustainable technologies. The rink also serves as a multifunctional event center during the warmer months. 

The Minnesota Wild recently hosted a free open practice which included free hot chocolate and coffee for the Wild faithful. 

“Even during the really cold games, playing outside on the ROC has always been so special for me,” Shaw said. “We’re very lucky because not many other teams get to play games at an outdoor rink and the energy is always unmatched there.” 

Last year Park ended with a record of 7-19. This year they plan to build off that and continue to improve.  

Sofia Hoffman and Lizzy Helling, seniors, are the only returning upperclassmen on the roster this year for the Royals. They’re going to have to face an even larger leadership role for the young team, but they are certainly up for the challenge. 

“With the other captains, we plan to lead by example which includes showing how things are done on and off the ice,” Hoffman said. “My leadership role may have increased from last year but I’m excited this year to get the younger kids more engaged in the game and excited to come to practice every day.” 

The team has a long season ahead of them and hopes to continue to build off of their success.