New youth hockey team aims to keep players at home

With the goal of providing opportunities and to strengthen area youth hockey players, Little Falls has a new youth hockey team, the 05/06 AAA Freeze.

The team is coached by George Moore, Kris Oothoudt, Brad Oothoudt, John Avery, Randy Wilmes and Matt Glaesman, and is made up of 14 boys from the Little Falls Mite team and three from the Sartell/St. Cloud area.

The team was put together by Brad Oothoudt, George Moore and Kris Oothoudt with the purpose of giving the Little Falls youth hockey players a spring and summer team to play on. Historically, Little Falls hockey players would have to go to St. Cloud or another city to try out for a AAA hockey team.

After going 0-4 in its first tournament, the Freeze took second place at a tournament in St. Cloud, April 25 – 27.

“We are so proud of how these kids played,” Moore said. “It was a total team effort and they worked their tails off. Eight weeks ago none of them had played in a game where the teams kept score, penalties were called or offsides meant anything.”

“We really didn’t know what to expect when we put the team together,” said Kris Oothoudt. “The Freeze isn’t a select team and we didn’t have tryouts. To be honest, we thought there was a possibility that we would lose every game. We even have three first-graders on the team playing against teams made up mostly of third-grade kids.

“Winning is great, but the intent was to keep the kids skating together, building hockey skills and having fun,” he said. “These boys will be playing hockey together for the next 10 years and it is nice that we have a team where they can stick together.”

As this group ages, the coaches hope that parents of future generations carry on what they have started.

“Our intent is to try and keep this program going,” Brad Oothoudt said. “Maybe in a few years we will have three or four Little Falls Freeze youth hockey teams of different ages playing and competing. This would be good for Little Falls and would really help accelerate our youth hockey program.”