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by Wes Jirovec, 3/3/2024, 2:00pm CDT

The teams are set and the time is now. It is “Tourney Week” in the State of Hockey. And for those uninitiated, this is the biggest and most exciting event in the country for high school sports. Don’t believe it? Let’s check the math…

16 section champions from throughout the state.

22 games in four days.

Over 100,000 attendees.

Broadcasted live in over 36 countries and all 50 states.

And by Saturday evening, we’ll have two champions.

But simple numbers don’t do it justice. It’s more than just a wildly popular sporting event. Because you can’t measure passion and atmosphere. Even outside of the Xcel Energy Center, there will be a vibe and energy that isn’t quantifiable. But it is potent and it is incredible.

Maybe the best sight you’ll see in downtown Saint Paul this week are the faces of all the young kids. Some are there to support their own community or to root for a specific team, and some aren't. It’s more about a shared dream to hopefully one day earn the opportunity to skate on that ice for their school. And for the boys that are playing this week, what an incredible dream to come true.

We are fortunate to have witnessed and supported the long journeys of so many players that have made it to the Tourney. The path to success is not an easy one. But that’s also part of what it makes it so appreciated by the players and their families. This year, we have 29 current athletes that are on varsity rosters still alive in the hunt for a state title. Here are a few intriguing storylines about that group, along with the full list of MAP South athletes participating in the 2024 Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament.



For Chanhassen HS, the accomplishments up to this point alone are enough for the history books. So it’s wild to tell you that their story is far from over. Last season, the Chan boys suffered a devastating loss in the 2AA section championship in double overtime. They were defeated by the eventual state champions in Minnetonka. It was an experience that fueled their current senior class with a desire for redemption. And that goal was fulfilled this past Thursday. The Storm upset the previously undefeated, number one ranked, defending champion Skippers in a thrilling 2-1 victory at Braemar Arena. And this will be the first ever State Tournament appearance in school history.

And if you know this roster, you know that potential section final outcome wasn’t so farfetched. The loaded senior group at Chan is led by forward Jack Christ (22 goals, 33 assists, 55 points), forward Caden Lee (24 goals, 22 assists, 46 points) and defenseman Owen Buesgens (5 goals, 36 assists, 41 points). Each of these boys are electric playmakers with and without the puck and they do not shy away from the big moments. Their exciting trajectories have taken notice by the hockey world, as each of them have already earned a verbal commitment to play at the collegiate level (Christ & Lee at Minnesota State University-Mankato; Buesgens at University of St. Thomas).

Even with such a strong group of skaters, the lifeblood of this Storm team runs through senior goaltender Kam Hendrickson. Kam’s deadly mix of athleticism, game IQ and compete level has been crucial for his team’s success the past two years. And his 44-save performance versus Minnetonka in the section final all but solidified him as the most valuable player in the state. Chanhassen earned the number 2 seed for the Class AA tournament. And Hendrickson’s prowess is the number one reason why they’ll have a good shot at winning it all.

Senior stud Kam Hendrickson making one of his 44 saves in the 2AA Section Championship for Chanhassen. Photo credit: Bjorn Franke, IG: @bf_photos


Last year’s Class A championship run by Mahtomedi was an amazing feat to witness. But now gone is last year’s impressive senior class, led by South Side legends Charlie Drage and David Wolsfeld. So it was a reasonable question heading into this past offseason about who would step up this year for the Zephyrs. That question has been answered with a late-season surge and impressive section playoff run. Senior forward Jake Hodd-Chlebeck (25 goals, 22 assists, 47 points) has been a clutch performer all year, recording a team-leading 6 game-winning goals. Jake is red-hot as of late, with 14 points in his last 7 games.

Another star-in-the-making for the Zephs is junior d-man Sam Harris (5 goals, 21 assists, 26 points). Logging big minutes isn’t new to Harris, after being relied upon plenty in last year’s State Tournament. But we have seen the next step in his evolution, as he’s currently riding a 6-game point streak that included the overtime game-winning goal in the section championship against SW-Christian. Besides his offensive contributions, Harris is an intense defender that's tough for anyone to play against right now.

Junior goaltender Wes Strub (.925 SV%, 2.06 GAA) and junior forward Winston Wright (10 goals, 8 assists, 18 points) have both stepped into more prominent roles this year. Strub recorded big wins down the stretch between the pipes, including a 33-save performance in the section final. And Wright plays a tough, selfless brand of hockey at both ends of the ice.

Our athletes from Mahtomedi. (L to R): Fuerst, Harris, Swanson, Hodd-Chlebeck, Wright, Appert, Strub.


The old saying of “defense wins championship” still has merit in our game today. And besides an abundance of talented forwards taking the ice this week, there are some legit defenders that will be fun to watch. The aforementioned Buesgens is more than just an offensive catalyst. His overall game processing is some of the best that you'll see. He’s a tough customer in the trenches and will fare well in any one-on-one matchups he sees. You can’t say enough about Owen's impact on the ice.

Cretin-Derham Hall has a core of names to remember for this week and also potentially for years to come. Junior Jimmy Dodig (5 goals, 17 assists, 22 points) is as tenacious as they come and is also a consistent puck mover for the Raiders. He’s committed to play Division 1 at Merrimack College. Senior Aidan Siegfried (2 goals, 15 assists, 17 points) is another regular contributor in all situations, while sophomore Phoenix Cahill showed a lot of poise and confidence for a youngster in the section playoffs. Cahill’s future looks plenty bright as a two-way difference maker.

Besides Harris, Mahtomedi senior Cole Swanson (4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points) will bring a consistent impact. He plays substantial minutes for the Zephyrs, uses his 6’3”, 210 lb. frame to his advantage and plays with an edge.


Among this year’s group of 16 section champions, 9 of them were not #1 seeds. The lowest of which were the winners from 3AA in the CDH Raiders (5 seed). Their regular season had plenty of ups and downs, but the Raiders were able to get the most out of their talented roster and showed up when it mattered most. Senior forward Chuck Owens (12 goals, 22 assists, 34 points) leads the squad in points and can make a splash at any time. The Air Force commit posted 6 points in 3 playoff games, including 2 goals in the section finals against rival St. Thomas Academy.

The player that probably encapsulates CDH’s “chip on their shoulder” mindset best is sophomore Max Anderson. Max’s physicality and hard skill are built for playoff hockey. He’ll make his mark on the game when the puck drops, one way or another. Junior goaltender Owen Nelson (.920 SV%, 1.59 GAA) has been tremendous down the stretch for the Raiders. His game looks more than ready for anything thrown his way by Centennial on Thursday afternoon.

CDH sophomore Max Anderson is a playoff performer. Photo credit: Brianna Burhham, IG: @734_visuals

The 22-4-2 Raiders from Northfield did not get a top-5 seed in this year’s Class A bracket, but they have the makings of a potential upset in their quarterfinal matchup against St. Cloud Cathedral. If you remember, Northfield was in the Tourney last year with many of the same core players. Among them is senior forward Cayden Monson (21 goals, 26 assists, 57 points), who’s game has matured greatly over his HS career. Monson has recorded a point in every matchup this season but one. He’s a leader on and off the ice for his team. Another skater to keep an eye out is junior forward Will Cashin (11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points). Besides his offensive upside, Cashin is a savvy forechecker and can make plays in traffic and on the walls.

Perhaps all of the upsets in the sections tournaments will be a trend that continues this week in Saint Paul. At the very least, all of the top-seeded teams need to do away with any perception of being a “favorite.” Because in our sport, it’s always easier to be motivated to prove someone wrong. And our staff will be there to see who can do it.

MAP South Hockey 2024 State HS Tournament Participants

Chanhassen 3 BUESGENS, OWEN Defense 12
Chanhassen 9 CHRIST, JACK Forward 12
Chanhassen 1 HENDRICKSON, KAM Goaltender 12
Chanhassen 24 LEE, CADEN Forward 12
Chanhassen 8 RISCH, JAKE Forward 12
Chanhassen 6 SMITH, LOGAN Forward 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 19 ANDERSON, MAX Forward 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 5 AUTREY, CAM Forward 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 21 BROWN, ANDY Defense 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 14 CAHILL, PHOENIX Defense 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 24 DODIG, JIMMY Defense 11
Cretin-Derham Hall 10 KING, JOHN Forward 11
Cretin-Derham Hall 7 KLOEK, DAWSON Forward 11
Cretin-Derham Hall 8 LARSON, SAM Defense 10
Cretin-Derham Hall 20 MATYAS, MARCUS Forward 9
Cretin-Derham Hall 35 MILLER, LEO Goaltender 12
Cretin-Derham Hall 30 NELSON, OWEN Goaltender 11
Cretin-Derham Hall 11 OWENS, CHUCK Forward 12
Cretin-Derham Hall 6 SIEGFRIED, AIDAN Defense 12
Cretin-Derham Hall 9 SWIFT, EASTON Forward 12
Mahtomedi 24 APPERT, MAC Forward 11
Mahtomedi 16 FUERST, BRAYDEN Forward 10
Mahtomedi 6 HARRIS, SAM Defense 11
Mahtomedi 8 HODD-CHLEBECK, JAKE Forward 12
Mahtomedi 35 STRUB, WES Goaltender 11
Mahtomedi 5 SWANSON, COLE Defense 12
Mahtomedi 10 WRIGHT, WINSTON Forward 11
Northfield 13 CASHIN, WILL Forward 11
Northfield 20 MONSON, CAYDEN Forward 12

Alumni Athletes

CRETIN-DERHAM HALL: Max Bennett, Jackson Kirkevold, Veszi Lippai

EDINA: Dylan Dubuc, Brady Mullman, Sam Peckham, Caleb Pittsley, Michael Risteau, Quintin Schaefer, Casey Vandertop, Mason West


WHITE BEAR LAKE: Zac Baay, Nate Celski, Will Distad

We will be posting game and player updates throughout the week via our Instagram and Twitter/X accounts, so be sure to stay in the loop @mapsouthhockey.

For State Tournament brackets and score updated, visit

For a trip down memory lane, check out our State Tournament articles from previous years…