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Holman taking over WDC boys' hockey

Chris Holman has a very hard time remembering when hockey was not part of his life.

The 48-year-old Verndale social studies instructor grew up in Edina and used to skate on Minnehaha Creek. Wherever you found ice, you found Chris Holman.

After his playing days were over, Holman began coaching in the Edina Youth Association. He went on to coach Bantams in Hopkins and it was there that he wanted to put all of his time into working with kids.

"I really saw kids grow as people," Holman said.

With a wife, a mortage and a baby on the way, Holman chucked his job selling sporting goods and went back to college to earn a teaching license. He has put eight years into the teaching profession and has coached the varsity girls' hockey program at Holy Catholic in Victoria.

Holman came to Verndale with the idea of becoming "the best ice fisherman central Minnesota has ever seen."

In one of life's funny twists he found he had landed just a few miles away from a school that was looking for a head hockey coach.

Holman's goal as head coach of the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines will be help his players grow as people and have fun on the ice.

Holman's definition of "fun" includes a lot of hard work.

"I'm grounded in fundamentals, I'm a fundamental fool," Holman said. "The harder you work the more success you have."

Holman knows the WDC hockey program was devastated by the June 17, 2010 tornado. The Wolverines practiced and played their home games at Long Prairie last year and the team won just four of their 25 contests in a long and difficult season. It was a far cry from the 2003-2004 season when WDC won 26 of 29 games and played in the Class A state tournament.

But while facilities come and go, Holman believes the game of ice hockey is played exactly the same way it has always been played and he wants players who can skate well.

"If you can't get to the puck you can't do anything," Holman said.

Kyle Davis and Derek Neu will be assisting Holman this season.

"They really want to help Wadena hockey become a very respected program in the section," Holman said.

A new steel structure is going up over the Wadena hockey rink and Holman is getting a late start on building his 2011-2012 team but he believes he is up for the challenge.

"I hope to bring a positive perspective," Holman said. "It's got to be about the fun. The wins will come as a result."