Minnesota Hockey Journal

March 2023

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Page 25 of 33

Photos / Alaska Fairbanks; Tim Kolehmainen ROGERS ROYALTY CHASE CHESLOCK INTENSELY REMEMBERS WATCHING THE 2022 MINNESOTA STATE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS HOCKEY TOURNAMENT AT HOME AND IN THE STANDS. Cheslock and Rogers had fallen to the eventual Class A A runners-up Maple Grove, 4-2, in the Section 5A A Championship. The squad was just shy of making the program's first-ever trip to the Xcel Energy Center in March. "I remember that ga me," Cheslock said. "I think about it every day. A nd then I also think about that champion- ship game ( between Maple Grove and A ndover) at the X. I was there. A nd I was really stoked but at the same time, it hit home differently. "It could have been us." Cheslock and company were determined to reverse that feeling this year. But more importantly, Rogers is solidifying itself as a contender—a perennial powerhouse two decades in the making. "Last year, we went undefeated in con- ference and won the conference champi- onship beating Andover," said coach Dave Brown, now in his fourth year at the helm. "And I think sitting on our couches last March, watching those two slug it out for the state championship was a humbling and motivating night for our program. "Our kids know it's not going to be easy. I think they came into the season thinking that we were a little better than that. We thought we were a little better than we actually are. And that's going to require effort and drive to really propel ourselves. And we'll see when the light shines bright- est if we play our best game." UP AND COMING The city of Rogers is home to just over 13,000 people. With its proximity to near- by suburban schools like Elk River, the community did not have its own high school until 2003. Along with it came the hockey program. Long known as a basketball area, Rogers formerly competed in the Mississippi 8 Conference before joining the Northwest Suburban Conference in 2019-20. On-ice success has ebbed and flowed. Current Washington Capitals defen- seman Nick Jensen is a product of Rogers, who previously held the How Rogers built a perennial powerhouse in two decades BY J E S S I P I E R C E That Bantam State Tournament was probably some of the most fun I've had playing hockey. One of the most electric atmospheres." —SAM RANALLO M H J ON L I N E . C O M | M A R C H 2 0 2 3 26 Photos / Loren Nelson/LegacyHockeyPhotography.com, 734_visuals, Getty Images

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