Wildcats excel on and off the ice rink
The Dodge County boys’ hockey team earned a 21-6 record this season and performed just as well, if not better off the ice as their team grade point average of 3.56 got the attention of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association who named them the Section 1A academic champions.
Head Coach Nick Worden said he felt great when he heard that his team had received this honor.
“I’m very proud of our kids for the effort they have put into off-ice school work,” he said.
He thinks this is the first time that Dodge County has earned this award.
What helped the Wildcats earn this award this year, he said, was being accountable for their schoolwork.
“I think it’s placing a focus on becoming a well-rounded student-athlete and that comes with a certain responsibility,” he said.
In addition to showing that his players are responsible, Worden said this honor proves that hard work pays off.
“When you focus and are willing to place the proper effort on something, you can really achieve anything,” he said.
While it’s the players who ultimately put the work in to achieve this honor, he mentioned that various groups helped the players make this happen, including the captains.
“All three of our captains are excellent students and all the players know that, so there is a lead by example thing happening off ice. [It’s] something that doesn't really even need to be talked about,” he said.
Worden said the coaches also provide an incentive for the players to perform well in the classroom.
“We control academics with playing time. It’s a very powerful motivator,” he said.
Last, but not least he said the teachers for the various schools that make up the Dodge County hockey team helped the players excel academically.
“All of our schools are excellent and have good teachers. In today's world it all comes down to what you are willing to put into the work. That most likely is what you will get back in return,” he said. “If you get your work done on time and study for exams, you will like the outcome, simple as that!”
Even though it’s a simple formula, Worden said this honor is, “Every bit as important [as an athletic achievement], but probably just doesn't always get the same recognition.”