It is a straight-forward philosophy that Hermantown Boys Head Hockey Coach, Bruce Plante, has employed in his program since he took over the relatively unknown Hawk program just over 30 years ago.
To say that this team dynamic has been successful would be an enormous understatement for the over-achieving suburb of Duluth. They have earned their sixth straight state tournament berth, and a chance at a sixth straight trip to the single A state championship. The Hawk's program has solidified itself as one of the premier programs in the Twin Ports and the state.
Plante attributes a lot of the program’s recent success to the development of outdoor rinks around the Hermantown community.
“A turning point was when they built the outdoor rinks. Most of our players were made on those outdoor rinks,” Plante said.
Players like current UMD captain Adam Krause and Freshman forward Jared Thomas have been baptized into the world of hockey playing on those outdoor Hermantown rinks, but the tutelage of Plante is what really has made the difference in these players.
The Hermantown players look at Plante as not only a coach, but a mentor, who still takes the time to check in on his former players through texts and calls. The players return the favor by coming back to games to cheer on their alma-mater. This player-coach relationship is a microcosm of the Hermantown community at large.
“We have a pretty close-knit group here in Hermantown. People care about each other and support one another. The players and coaches get along great,” Plante said.
The support generated for the Hermantown hockey program is electric and amplifies dramatically during this time of year, while the Hawks pack their bags for another trip to the X.