The cooperative program includes these schools: Rocori, Paynesville, St. John's Prep, Albany, and New London-Spicer. Their team is called the River Lakes Stars.
Since the first year of varsity hockey with this program, the number of Paynesville players has gone up as more interested girls have come out for the team. Courtney Karsch was the first girl to participate on the team.
A total of five girls from Paynesville Area High School are on the team this year: Karsch, a senior; Jenny Habben, a sophomore; Laurie Barten, a sophomore; Crystal Songetay, a ninth grader; and Jessica Andrie, a ninth grader.
"I am so glad that more girls joined the team, and I really hope that they have as much fun as I do," said Karsch.
The Stars ended last season with a record of 20-4 and hope to improve on that and to go farther in the playoffs."I really think that with our talent and skill we have the potential to really succeed this year," said co-captain Mary Beth Johannes.
The Stars are strong in their defense and in their offense, which helps them to play as a team and to succeed.
So far, there are 19 girls out for hockey this year and there are 13 returning players. Having experience and depth are key ingredients for a successful team.
The Stars have a new head coach this year. His name is Tom Petrowski. He is a middle school teacher at Rocori . He should help out the team because he has around 30 years of hockey experience. Petrowski has a lot of knowledge of how to get the Stars prepared for their upcoming season and has a lot of great ideas to help them become successful.
The Stars have the same assistant coach as last year. Jim Caron has 20 years of hockey experience under his belt and also has coached some former Edina high school teams, as well as the Stars. "I just really like the sport. I love coaching, watching, and playing it as well," said Caron.
"We want to progressively get better by working hard and staying strong," said Caron, of the team's goals.
The Stars first game is Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Fergus Falls at 7 p.m. The River Lakes Stars will play three home games at the Paynesville Civic Arena this year. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, they host Benson in Paynesville at 7 p.m. In January, they will play Grand Rapids and Alexandria in Paynesville.
Their other home games will be played at the River Lakes Arena in Richmond.
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