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Jacks boys hockey team honored on awards night

The Bemidji High School boys hockey team was honored Monday night at its annual Awards Night Ceremony at the Community Arena.

The event drew a full house to honor the 40 skaters who competed on the varsity and JV teams this winter.

Wade Chiodo, completing his second season as head coach, served as emcee for the event, which led off with a 30-minute video of season highlights.

Captains Joseph Welle and Mike Rees extended their thanks to the coaching staff and their teammates for their contributions to helping the team achieve a successful winter and bow out in the record-breaking six-overtime playoff thriller to St. Cloud Tech.

Each of the five coaches was given a gift of appreciation.

They also cited the cheerleaders for their encouragement all year.

The third leader, Jesse Nemgar, was out of town.

Cheerleader advisor Julie Boe expressed her thanks to the players and parents, calling the group a "great family to work with during the year." All six members of the squad are underclassmen and expected to return next winter.

They are Annie Bruestle, Lindsey Isaacson, Rachel Johnson, Katie Krause, Kelsey Merck and Brittany Waldhausen.

Nate Weossner, JV coach, recounted his team's outstanding 22-2-1 season, pointing to its positive attitude and strong work ethic as major contributors to its success.

"It was a team with great character, one that grew stronger with each game throughout the year," Weossner said. "We had players that pushed each other all year which made for a better team."

Chiodo said the varsity program is again headed in the right direction with this year's 13-13 finish after last year's 14-12 record pointing to a better future ahead.

The team started strong, survived a midseason rash of illness and injuries, and closed strong. It was a team that sought to improve all year.

The historic finale was a "classic game," he said, one that left the entire team completely drained at its end.

"The kids left it all on the ice."

Assistant John Wangberg praised his defense for its improved play with team defense one of its strongest suits all year. With three of its six members returning next winter, it should continue to be strong, he said.

He urged the returning squad members to work hard during the offseason to improve their skills, especially through use of the weight room.

Chiodo returned to cite the nine graduating players for their individual contributions throughout this winter and their careers.

Singled out for team honors were:

Most Improved Players: Jordan Heller and Axel Osborn

Most Valuable Defense: Joseph Welle

Most Valuable Forwards: Jesse Nemgar and Rylee Curb

Most Valuable Player: Nemgar

Special presentations were made to the three captains.

Chosen to lead the 2011 team were Max Hazelton, Isaac Bitter and Steve Heller.

Olson was given a special plaque for setting a national record with his 58-save performance in the season finale.

Nemgar was also singled out for breaking the school career scoring mark with 129 points in his four seasons of play.

The coveted Hobey Baker Award was earned by Curb.

Welle was named a Mariucci Conference All-Star.

Nemgar and Osborn were named to the Associated Press All-State honorable mention list.

Nemgar, Curb and Welle participated in the Warroad All-Star game while Nemgar and Welle played in the Great Eight All-Star series.

Chiodo left the team with the reminder, "Don't ever become complacent," urging them to work hard through the offseason for improvement .

With 13 lettermen returning, the Jacks' future seems bright,

Earning their 2010 hockey letters this year were:

SENIORS: Jesse Nemgar, Mike Rees, Joseph Welle, Rylee Curb, Kevin Larson, Luke Burns, Lucas Phillips, Matt Hietala and Axel Osborn

JUNIORS: Steve Heller, Will Bruestle, Max Hazelton, Tyler Follis, Jake White, Isaac Bitter, Cameron Dahedl and Miah Graves

SOPHOMORES; John Forseth, Jordan Heller, Tyler Tatro, Dillon Eichstadt and Brady Devescovi.