Hastings' own Luke Larson and Colin Sieh will play in one of Minnesota's greatest hockey traditions, the CCM High Performance Ted Brill Great 8 hockey tournament. The Ted Brill Great 8 has been held for more than 30 years and allows the top high school players in Minnesota to showcase their talents in front of coaches and scouts from colleges, junior leagues and professional teams.
The tournament features eight teams made up of players from throughout Minnesota. Four teams are made up of high school seniors (HP Seniors), while the other four are made up of junior players who were born in 1999 (HP 18s). Each team is made up of players from two high school sections combined. Larson and Sieh will play on the sections 1 and 3 HP Seniors team alongside players from Red Wing, St. Thomas Academy, Northfield, Burnsville, Lakeville North and South, East Ridge, and others.
The games will be played from Friday, March 31, through Sunday, April 2, at Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul. Each team will play three pool games and one crossover game. Twenty HP Senior players and 20 HP 18 players will be selected at the end of the Ted Brill Great 8 to form two teams to represent Minnesota at the CCM Minnesota High School Hockey National Invitational Tournament. They will play against teams from Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts and North Dakota.
Both Larson and Sieh said they found out they would be playing in the tournament from their head coach, Adam Welch.
"I found out I had been selected when Mr. Welch called me into the coach's' office and told me I had gotten in," Larson said. "I felt pretty stoked knowing that all of my hard work from the season had paid off!"
Sieh said the opportunity is just another chance to show off his skills.
"Playing in the tournament, to me, means opportunity," Sieh explained. "(The tournament) gives me some more time to showcase my skill and hopefully get noticed in a good way. I'm looking forward to playing at a very high pace with the amount of skill that is present. I like to challenge myself and see where I'm at in comparison to some of the best players in state."
Both players said that their goals for the tournament are to have fun, show off their skills and win some games. However, they both also acknowledged the most challenging part will be getting enough ice time to practice before the tournament.
"One challenge I have is getting ice before it to prepare," Luke said. "There isn't much hockey going on right now, and tennis season has started, so it is hard to get ice and stay sharp for the tournament."
"The main challenge I face in preparing for the tournament is finding time to skate and keep my motor skills at peak performance," Colin added. "It's tough to regain those little movements that you perfected during the season after not skating for a few weeks."
Their first game will be Friday, March 31, against the HP Seniors sections 2 and 6 team at 5:30 p.m.