One of Minnesota’s storied high school hockey programs will be resurrected after the Minnesota State High School League approved a new hockey co-op this week.
The co-op will merge Southwest Christian, located in Chaska, with Richfield – a suburb located 20 miles east that was forced to fold its program last season because of a lack of numbers.
Richfield made six state tournaments between 1962 and 1991 and has turned out players like former Gophers and Wild star Darby Hendrickson, Steve Christoff and Tom Ward.
But the program had fallen onto tough times in recent years and with just 11 skaters last season they were forced to pull the plug.
That was until the opportunity came up to pair with Southwest Christian.
“It’s a great day for hockey in Richfield,” said Hendrickson, a 1991 Richfield graduate, in a news release.
Minnesota Hockey Hub notes that the combined team will play mostly a JV schedule this season. The goal would be to have a varsity program by 2017-18.
Hendrickson plans to help out by serving on the hockey development committee.
It also gives Southwest Christian a chance to offer a sport they had not previously been able to offer.
The joint program will take the name of the Stars.
Southwest Christian Athletic Director, Darin Keizer, told the Chaska Herald that he expects 8 to 10 players the first year from the Chaska school, while 6 to 8 players will come from Richfield.
The program is currently searching for a head coach.