In the wildest of times, our training season continues to carry on. Thanks to the efforts of our staff and the cooperation of our athletes, we've continued to keep our doors open and maintain a healthy and exciting environment for our players. Despite some adjustments with new procedures and protocols, we've got plenty of boys and girls who have not lost focus on their goals and aspirations.
For how well the following individuals have been performing, it'll take a lot more than a pandemic to slow them down. We are proud of the work that these athletes and putting in and thankful for the influence they make on their peers and our program as a whole. These are the Players of the Month for July 2020.
Ryan Chesley | College/Junior Tier | US National Development Program
When it comes to the overall talent level on a single ice sheet, our group at the College/Junior tier is pretty exciting. Among the group, Ryan has been a standout performer. He joins our program following an eventful year. Ryan was selected to play for Team USA at the Youth Olympics Games in Launanne, Switzerland this past winter and was also chosen to play at USNTDP this upcoming season. Despite his accolades, Ryan continues to be driven toward further boosting his game on daily basis. His competitiveness makes for a positive influence on those around him. This is a premier defenseman who's name will be well known in the hockey community soon, if it isn't already.
Honorable Mention: Garrett Horsager, Matthew Gleason
Tony Leahy | 18 Selects Tier | Roseville HS
Tony has proven to be a valuable add to our top high schooler in his first year with the program. The Roseville standout comes off an impressive individual campaign (40 points in 25 games) and has looked highly motivated to build on that success. We are big fans of his coachability on the ice and tenacity in game reps. Tony knows to make an impact whether he has the puck on his stick or not. We are excited to see what he does with the back half of the training season. Tony was also recently selected to play on the Blue Army U18 Elite team this fall.
Honorable Mention: Sam Berry
Joe Manning | 18s Tier | Stillwater HS
Although Joe is in his first year with the program, the MAP South culture is in his blood. Joe's older brother, Luke, was a South-Sider for several years on his way to the Air Force Academy Men's Team. And much like his brother, Joe brings great energy to the rink and is a sharp student on the ice. He is a smart, puck-moving defenseman with good instincts in all scenarios. With more of the same efforts, we are anticipating a big boost in Joe's role as a senior for the Ponies in 2020-21.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Dundon
John Schmidt | 16s Tier | New Prague HS
We've seen a lot of breakout offseasons at age 15-16 over the years. It's a time where big jumps of development & maturity regularly take place. And although we're only at the midpoint of the training season, John might be that next breakout player. Solid physical tools matched with an aggressive nature and strong instincts with and without the puck, John's game has a lot to like. His gameplay right now also shows a lot of maturity - when to make skill plays with the puck and when to move to the puck. He continues to improve on a regular basis. It should be no surprise that John was selected to play on the Blue Army U15 Elite team this fall.
Honorable Mention: Aidan Siegfried
Will Emerson | 15s Tier | Prior Lake
Will is a veteran South-Sider at this point and has maintained a healthy and consistent development path for several years. Coming off a solid first year at the bantam level for the Lakers BAA squad, we're convinced he will be an elite performer at that level for the 2020-21 season. Will's skill set, skating ability and overall IQ help him make a difference on both sides of the puck. It's always exciting to see a young defenseman who can make plays in 5-on-5 as well as special teams. Will is poised to continue to learn and improve as he moves up the ranks.
Honorable Mention: Mason Stenger, Henry Lechner, Jake Hodd
Photo Credit: Youth Hockey Hub
Will Distad | 14s Tier | White Bear Lake
Will is in his second year as a South-Sider and at this point, we think he may be around for a loooong time. Will has made a strong step forward as a consistent performer in game reps and also in his coachabilty with the staff. For such a young player, Will grasps a lot of new concepts easily and continues to improve because of it. The result of his hard work is a big defenseman who makes big plays on both sides of the puck. The arrow is definitely pointing up for this young WBL blue-liner.
Honorable Mention: Gavin Kor, Brady Morrell, Quintin Schaefer
Photo Credit: Youth Hockey Hub
Mason West | 13s Tier | Edina
Although everyone at this age has a long ways to go, it's hard for our staff to not be overly excited about this young stud. Westie is checking all the boxes in his first year with the program - compete level, attention to detail, coachability, work ethic and a driven mindset. And when it comes to his gameplay, Westie's versatile impact on the ice is next level. So far this summer, you only need to watch a few shifts before he puts up a highlight reel play with the puck or strong defensive takeaway. PWAA teams this winter are going to have their hands full anytime they have the Hornets on the schedule.
Honorable Mention: Poul Anderson, Emmett Hartmann, Sam Pacovsky, Quintin DeVepo
Iona Welsch | Girls College Tier | Lakeville South HS
Our Girls College tier has continued to impress as the summer goes on. It's exciting to have so many skilled athletes contribute to a healthy culture at the rink. One of the standouts among the group has been Iona. Iona is a player who is driven to achieve both short and long term goals. She shows a high compete level and make significant efforts to improve her game on a daily basis. Iona has college aspirations that are well within reach. Our staff is excited to support her development on and off the ice to get her where she wants to go.
Honorable Mention: Marta Sorenson, Ayla Puppe
Skyler Arneson | Girls HS Tier | Simley HS
We are always appreciative of our athletes have a positive influence on their peers. And Skyler fits that mold. Her consistent work ethic makes an impact on the rest of her group. This is a player that loves to compete, regardless of the environment. So you can imagine how fired up she gets for our Game Day skates. To go along with her motor, Skyler's on-ice instincts make for a solid contributor with a bright future. We are excited to see her game continue to improve!
Honorable Mention: Jade Schauer
Kai Girard | Goaltender, 16s Tier | Chaska-Chanhassen
Per usual, there have been a number of top-notch performers between the pipes throughout all of the tiers. But this newcomer from out west has been especially outstanding. In Kai's first year in the program, he has immersed himself in the MAP South culture. He has been highly motivated to improve his game and that's reflected in his attendance both on and off the ice. He has already made great strides in his game and he has been an absolute gamer. Great work Kai and keep it up!
Honorable Mention: Aidan Finn, Fuzz Aafedt, Isaiah Paulnock, Ryan Manzella, Tyler McCarville