Marlins celebrate their title at rally with fansThe Mitchell Marlins boys’ hockey team celebrated its state championship on Tuesday with a pep rally at the Mitchell Activities Center.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Marlins boys’ hockey team celebrated its state championship on Tuesday with a pep rally at the Mitchell Activities Center.
The team was introduced in front of a large crowd, which had gathered to welcome home the team and the state tournament trophy.
Mitchell earned the trophy after a 2-0 victory over previously undefeated Brookings on Sunday.
“Brookings is the only city in South Dakota that I would consider a hockey town,” Marlins coach John Lord said at the event.
He added that the Marlins dominated the game and used their never-give-up attitude to bring the championship home to Mitchell.
“Now that we’ve got it, the next thing to do is defend it,” Lord said.
Niko Arnold was absent but everyone else on the team spoke to the crowd. Captain Austin Loes was the last player to speak and served as a roast master, joking around about each and every one of his teammates.
Loes joked about goalie Weston Gauger’s shutout performance saying, “At the beginning of the year, you could shoot a beach ball and Weston wouldn’t have stopped it.”
Gauger was the focal point of the players and coaches as they looked back at the state tournament. Gauger was named the championship game MVP after his shutout performance.
Another player that the coaching staff pointed out to the crowd was Karl Hellstrom. He recorded more points than any other player at the state tournament with eight, all of which were assists.
The Marlins invited anyone to come speak and a few parents and fans went on the ice to celebrate with the team.
Hockey fans across South Dakota are still shocked at the outcome of the small Mitchell squad. Lord mentioned that most teams have 20 or more players on the team, while the Marlins had 11.
“(We’re) low in numbers (but) gigantic in heart,” he said to the crowd.