East Grand Forks hockey working for redemption in delayed start to season
In a year with so much uncertainty, having players chose to return to the roster for their senior seasons means even more.
EAST GRAND FORKS-- As the competitive winter sports season begins this week in Minnesota, the wait couldn’t end soon enough for the third ranked East Grand Forks boy’s hockey team. The Green Wave are working to return to the state tournament after missing out in 2019.
“I mean it’s unbelievable that we’re going to be able to play again,” said East Grand Forks Senior Landon Parker.
After falling to Warroad in the section 8A championship game last season, waiting 10 months to return to the ice has seemed like a lifetime for the Green Wave.
“I went through that game a thousand times in my head. I still have a very sour taste, I think all of us do, all the guys returning. It’s obviously something that sits in the back of my mind all the time and at the end of the day that’s a game that we’re going to remember when we start for the season,” said Parker.
Even in the darkest moments, Landon wasn’t giving up hope on playing his final season of high school hockey.
“I felt personally I owed a lot more to this hockey town. I think there’s a lot of unfinished business with just my senior class growing up playing with them,” said Parker.
With the uncertainty of the Minnesota High School Winter Sports season, Landon and a few of his teammates had the option to play junior hockey this year instead.
“Once uncertainty kind of came upon the high school season here, that’s when a lot of teams started calling. It was something you don’t really want to think about, but at the end of the day you needed a backup plan,” said Parker.
For them though there was only one right choice, finishing what they started.
“There’s a lot of good teams out there but at the end of the day this is where I wanted to be and I want to be with my community and play for my town here,” said Parker.
“I feel very fortunate to have everybody back. I think part of that is the way last year ended, what they look forward to this year. It’s also a really tight knit group, so we’re hoping that we can show up and get better and just achieve what we want to achieve in the long term,” said Green Wave Head Coach Tyler Palmiscno.
Redemption is on the Green Wave’s mind this year. Success isn’t their only motivation though, it’s savoring a season that was almost taken away.
“I mean this is a year we’ve been talking about our whole life, when we’re seniors fighting for that state title, fighting for that section title, I mean it’s something that you couldn’t give up just because of a virus,” said Parker.
“I like where our program is at. They trust in the fact that they can get better everyday right here. There are good options out there too, but what we have available everyday here is as good as anything,” said Palmiscno.
East Grand Forks opens its season on Friday at Red River. The Green Wave's first Minnesotan opponent will be Warroad in a rematch of the section championship game from last season on February 2nd.