Tough schedule breeds success for Wildcats
In the state of Minnesota, finding good hockey players isn’t a challenge. However, the Dodge County Wildcats are making a habit of developing their talent to get them ready for the collegiate level.
Since 2013, the Wildcats have produced seven collegiate players including Dana Rasmussen, who graduated last year and is playing for Ohio State and Katie Robinson, who has committed to play at the University of Minnesota beginning next winter.
The old adage is that there’s something in the water that produces hockey players in Dodge County, but Wildcats head coach Jeremy Gunderson believes that it’s a matter of finding great competition.
“When I took over, we had a history of playing Southwestern Minnesota teams that weren’t very competitive,” Gunderson recalled. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve turned that schedule up to the point where we’ll play a full metro schedule.”
The Wildcats schedule will be a gauntlet with the team facing every school currently ranked in the top-ten in Class AA and all of the top-five Class A teams. While a schedule like that could be daunting, Gunderson thinks that it’s a blessing in disguise.
“A lot of people will want to play easier schedules so the players have a chance to score 20 goals,” Gunderson explained. “But you look at Dana and Katie and they were playing under-12 teams from when they were seven years old. That’s why our schedule is so tough.”
Gunderson also knows that playing this kind of competition could be a roller coaster, but it’ll also be beneficial for the Wildcats in the long run.