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Winter sports preview: Viroqua boys co-op hockey welcomes new coach

Winter sports preview: Viroqua boys co-op hockey welcomes new coach

Viroqua High School coopertive boys hockey team 2019-2020

Members of the Viroqua cooperative boys hockey team for 2019-2020 in no particular order are Jacob Ellefson, Holder Kyser, Ty Milutinovich, Logan Paduano, Tucker Hughes, Dominic Delmedico, Jake Krause, JJ Hertel, Logan Mishler, Tyson Menzynski, Garrison Korn, Kaden Hansen, Caden Roth, Brayden Dahl, Brody Steele, Gavin Olson, Austin Nundahl, Austin Holmes, Corbett Bramstedt, Grayson Hertel, Spencer Otto, Carter Williams, Copper Miller, Gavin Goss and Odin Snowdeal.

The young Viroqua cooperative boys hockey team, which includes players from Viroqua, Westby, Youth Initiative and Cashton, has a new coaching staff for the 2019-2020 season and for the first time in a number of years, a JV team.

“Our coaching staff will measure the success of the season by how ready we are for the playoffs in February,” said Justin Halverson, the team’s new coach. Previously, he was an assistant/head coach.

Halverson is working with a team that lost three players to graduation.

“We lost three seniors last year — Nick Paduano, Hunter Vikmyer and Teddy Hanson,” Halverson said. “High school athletics are here and gone in an instant. I appreciate all the time spent watching the guys get ready for the next phase of their lives. They are all stand up young men. My hope is they return to the rink and enjoy hockey for the rest of their adult life as well.”

This year’s team motto is family. “We are taking things one day at a time,” Halverson said. “Our goal is to put team or ‘family’ first and not focus on individual achievements.”

One of the top players returning to the family is senior defenseman Julio (Jacob) Ellefson, who will lead defense. Ellefson was all conference honorable mention as a junior. “He is a second-year captain and vocal leader on the team,” Halverson said.

Another returning player is Ty Milutnovich, senior captain, who will be a physical leader on the team, Halverson said.

“Other seniors Tucker Hughes, Jake Krasue, Dom Delmedico, Holden Kyser and Logan Paduano will be leaned on to provide senior leadership,” Halverson said. “We will need our entire team to work together to be successful this season. Like I said, our focus cannot be on individual accolades.”

What does Halverson see as his team’s strengths this season?

“Our strengths will fall on our respect for one another,” he said. “We all need to do our part to support each and every teammate. Right now the team believes in each other, that is our greatest strength.”

Where are team’s weaknesses and biggest challenges?

“I’m not going to sell us short, our weakness is undetermined right now,” Halverson said. “We need to learn how to win tight games.

Halverson said he has no idea which teams will be top contenders for the conference title. “The conference will be competitive with no clear cut favorite. My hope is with a lot of hard work we come out on top.”

Assistant coaches are Brendan Karlstad, David Hettenbach. The team’s record last year was 1-20-1.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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