Wadena 'will have hockey' this winter
Wadena-Deer Creek boys' hockey coach Dan Savoie returned from a trip to Finland to find his team's hockey facility destroyed by a June 17 tornado.
Tuesday morning, June 29, Savoie had a group of volunteers helping him sift through the debris of the Wadena Area Community Center for any useful equipment the tornado did not carry away.
The question of whether or not the Wolverines will have a hockey program this year has been decided in Savoie's mind.
"We're going to pick up the pieces like everyone else," Savoie said. "If we have to play outside, we have to play outside."
Detroit Lakes and Alexandria have been among the schools offering the Wolverines ice time. Savoie is well known in Detroit Lakes having played for the Lakers.
"We've got the ability to make artificial ice and if we have the ability to do that we have the ability to play hockey," Savoie said. "The Zamboni is OK, the compressor at first glance is OK, even the floor is OK."
Savoie has been contacted by every coach in the section offering their assistance. Hockey practice begins in November. The girls' hockey season begins in mid-November. The boys' season begins in late November.
Wadena-Deer Creek activities director Norm Gallant has already seen a need for greater flexibility by his coaches and Savoie in on board with that idea.
"If we have to play more games on the road then so be it," Savoie said.
Savoie's assistant coach, Pat Boline, has been the president of the Wadena Hockey Association since February. Like Savoie, Boline intends to have a hockey program in town this winter - most likely at the present site.
"We will have a season and we will skate there," Boline said.
The hockey arena was part of the community center which is owned by the city of Wadena. The Wadena Hockey Association is a tenant of the facility.
Boline indicated that a temporary structure may be erected but it is still too early to make any judgment on that question.
There are 120 kids ages 4-18 in the hockey association.
"There is no doubt that Wadena will have hockey, it's just when we will have a rink," Boline said.