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Leadership Propels Boys Hockey to Strong Start

By Matt Funk, Head Coach, 02/02/21, 9:15AM CST


The pain of the 2-1 Section Semifinal loss to Benilde-St Margaret’s last February is still fresh. It marked a disappointing end to a great year for the Raiders and the loss of a great group of senior leaders led by Matthew Gleason ’20. Little did we know that our lives would then be changed by a global pandemic and a different school environment and the delay of our 2020-21 season. We needed leaders and that is when our senior captain, Chuck Altier ’21, and his peers stepped up.

Starting in June, Altier has led by example. He and Patrick Magnuson ’21 were our only two seniors returning to our Varsity and they motivated a few of their senior peers (Gus Cantwell ’21, Nick Freeman ’21, Emmett Sexton ’21, and Knowledge Gant ’21) to push past their comfort zone this summer. The results were incredible and they all came into camp in the best shape of their lives. Altier also knew that for us to be successful he needed the whole team to be all-in and unified to a common goal to improve each day. To do this he needed all 20 varsity guys on the same page, no matter what role they played or what class they were in. The team voted for two juniors as our alternate captains (Drew Fisher ’22 and  Zach Sondreal ’22). Together with Altier they have formed our identity as a team.

Leading and playing in a COVID-19 environment is not easy. They have early morning workouts at school, are limiting their social interactions outside the hockey team, balancing a hybrid schedule, and developing new pregame routines due to not being able to arrive at the rink at the normal time. It takes a ton of coordination, but Altier and the other captains are ensuring the team stays on task and committed to their goals. They understand the sacrifices needed and have stayed committed to the classroom and being present and active in the CDH community.

The season got under way on Jan 14th against Mounds View on the road with a 4-1 victory and wins over Irondale (8-1), Park (5-1), White Bear Lake (7-1), and East Ridge have followed, all leading to the Raiders #7 ranking in the latest poll. Depth has been the key thus far as the Raiders continue to wear down their opponents. Thirteen of the 18 players have multiple points on the year and our defense led by junior goalie, Marko Belak ’22, has limited our opponents to just over one goal per game.

When asked about his thoughts for the remainder of the season, Altier’s goals for his teammates are clear. 

“It’s going to be an awesome year with a strong group of returners. It’s going to be a fun challenge to lead this team and settle our unfinished business,” he said. 

So far Altier and Raider Hockey Family are doing just that.