Ellsworth students enjoy floor hockey
The team from St. Paul wasn't going to show, leaving a hole on the schedule where a prep floor hockey game was supposed to be.
But that didn't stop Ellsworth High School from putting on a floor hockey game even if it was just for fun.
A team of EHS teachers and staffers came together short-notice to provide a game for the parents and friends of the Ellsworth members of the Ellsworth-Hudson co-op floor hockey team to watch in Ellsworth Thursday.
"I just put the word via email that we needed to put together a team for the kids to play and they volunteered pretty quickly," Stacie Robey, the EHS teacher who is an assistant coach on the team said. "It was great they were willing to do this in the short time frame we had so that we could have a game here."
Just as Robey put out the word to get an all-star team together, so did Hudson to put together a prep floor- hockey team. Hudson's program is five years old but three years ago they almost dropped the program due to lack of players. Robey, who currently is on staff at EHS, worked in Hudson back then and searched for players who could make a team.
"They didn't have enough kids and when they tried to see if any interest in River Falls there wasn't," Robey said. "That when I went to Ellsworth and there was enough who wanted to play and wanted to contribute."
Ellsworth has been providing players for the Hudson program for the past three years. They are students in special education programs at the high school and they play on the Hudson team. This year's team members include: Josh Benck, James Ryle, Nick Oborsky, Nick Noltee, Amanda Huppert, Olivia Boettcher and Jordan Weldon. The head coach is Rick Schultz from Hudson.
The team practices and plays their games in Hudson at E.P. Rock Elementary School. The season starts right after Thanksgiving. The team plays 12 games on its schedule vs. teams from Minnesota such as Owatonna and New Prague along with floor hockey powerhouse St. Paul Humboldt. The Minnesota State High School League has floor hockey as a sport and Hudson-Ellsworth is the only Wisconsin team who plays against such squads.
"We do a lot of traveling," Robey said. "We take a van from school up to Hudson three times a week. When we travel long distances to Owatonna and New Prague we sometimes take a motor coach. It's a lot of fun."
The fun part comes from participation and from playing together as a team.
"It's something they can do together as a group, a team sport they can participate in," Robey said. "Getting along, working together and telling each other how well they played are the rewards for playing the sport."
When the students from Hudson and Ellsworth for co-mingled, they stayed on their own separate sides of the bus. As the season and the years go on, that divide has faded away.
"Getting them to mingle was tough part and once they got over that it's been great." Robey said.
The floor hockey team is just like any other, working hard in the preseason to learn the basic skills and fundamentals of hockey for two weeks before their first games."
Robey credits strong parent support for making the program a strong one and perhaps one day the numbers will be good enough for Ellsworth and Hudson to have their own teams.
"I don't know if the Minnesota schools will play against two Wisconsin teams but it would be nice to see happen." Robey said.