Former Braves head to nationals
* UPDATE: The American Collegiate Hockey Association announced Thursday that the National Hockey Tournament has been canceled due to public health concerns over the coronavirus.
Two former Bottineau-Rugby Braves will head to Dallas, Texas next weekend with the Dakota College of Bottineau Lumberjacks for the Amateur College Hockey Association National Tournament March 20-24.
Riley Olson, a Bottineau High School grad and Alex Hoffert, a 2018 graduate of Rugby High School joined Lumberjacks after playing for the Bottineau-Rugby Braves in high school.
The two now play on a DCB team along with members from several different states in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces.
Hoffert told the Tribune, “I love hockey a lot. It’s something I’ve always known and played. The friends you make and family you make and the bond that comes along with it are things I’ll always cherish and hold close to my heart. Playing high school hockey around here built me up. The coaching staff is great and it built me up to where I could play at the college level and I’ll thank them every day I play college hockey for that.”
Hoffert said of DCB’s season this year, “It’s been great. We had a really young team going in this year. I didn’t expect us to come together like we did, but the bond in hockey is something amazing. We ended up bonding as a great team together. The younger players ended up stepping up their game and doing pretty great, actually.”
Hoffert added, “I’ve got one more year of college here. I’ll be playing next year as well and then after that, if I can find a team, I’ll most likely be doing that. If I can’t find a team, I’ll just begin my career.”
“When I get a few years older, I’d like to start coaching if I get that opportunity,” Hoffert said.
A press release from DCB said, “The Jacks qualified (for nationals February 28) by defeating Weber State University 2-1 in overtime and then punched their ticket to Dallas by defeating Montana State 4-2 on (February 29) in the ACHA West Regional in Boise, Idaho. This is the first time that the Lumberjacks have made the tournament as a member of the ACHA. The Lumberjacks won 10 National Junior College Athletic Association championships while playing at the junior college level.”
“The pool we got put into for the tournament for the first three games is what they like to call the best pool. Three of the top ranked teams in the nation are in there. It’ll be a tough battle but if we come together like we did in regionals, I think we’ll do pretty great,” Hoffert said of the schedule.
The press release also quoted Lumberjacks Coach Travis Rybchinski: “I am very proud of our team as we are very honored to be able to represent our school and community on a big stage in Dallas. The guys played hard and deserve this chance to play for a national championship. We have the toughest pool in the tournament so we will have our work cut out for us.”
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