If George Behl's hair turns a little gray this winter it might be traced to his team. They have a way of making games exciting for fans but nerve-wracking for coaches.
Behl will be taking over the head reins of the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek Blue Devils this season, an outfit that won four of and lost three of their 22 games by a single goal. The Blue Devils were 8-14 when the season ended.
Behl, the father of former standout Cassie Behl, now playing hockey for Finlandia University in Michigan, assisted Jim Conrad with last year's team.
Conrad will assist Behl this season.
The 2010-2011 Blue Devils will be an extremely young group. The oldest players on the ice will be sophomores Julianna Henning (forward), Sam Killian (forward), Halley Maas (center), Hayli Toenyan (forward), Brooke Umland (defense) and Katelyn Peters (center). Killian, Maas, Toenyan, Umland and Peters all lettered last year. Behl is counting on them to supply most of his team's goals.
Veteran goalie Sam Gorka is gone but the Blue Devils have an experienced freshman goalie in letterwinner Sarah Holm. Backing up Holm will be seventh-grader Skyler Houts, who lacks varsity playing time but is no stranger to the position. Behl plans to give Houts her share of time in the net.
The club's other freshman letterwinners are Sara Najjar (defense) and Kylee Helling (forward).
The Blue Devils will be dipping into the eighth-grade ranks for help from Ashley Helseth (forward), Morgan Zeise (defense), Sara Casperson (defense), Ana Sturdavent (defense), Cari Nundahl (forward), Zara Einerwold (forward), Katelyn Barthel (forward), Brooke Sepin (forward) and Kylee Damm (defense). Damm lettered last season.
Behl will also have seventh-grader Anna Ivanova (forward) on his squad.
Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes are regarded as top competition for the Blue Devils.