WDC School Board approves joining girls hockey collective

The Detroit Lakes-based collective also includes players from Frazee-Vergas, Perham, New York Mills and Park Rapids.

Laker Hockey.JPG
Female players from Wadena-Deer Creek could be seen donning the Laker colors and joining the Detroit Lakes hockey program as early as next season. The WDC School Board approved joining the DL-based girls hockey collective, which also includes players from Frazee-Vergas, Perham, New York Mills and Park Rapids, at its Tuesday night board meeting.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

WADENA — The Wadena Youth Hockey program has seen a significant jump in female members as of late, so on Tuesday night, the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board approved an agreement for WDC to join the Detroit Lakes girls hockey collective, starting next season.

WDC Activities Director Norm Gallant presented the proposal at the board's regular meeting. "We've got a lot of kids, a lot of girls in the youth hockey program," he said, noting that there could be as many as 15 girls interested in participating in varsity/junior varsity hockey over the next four to five years, and while that's "not quite enough for our own program," he added, it is enough to consider joining a hockey collective once again.

Previously, WDC had participated in a girls hockey collective with Sauk Center and Long Prairie, he said, but withdrew a couple of years ago due to lack of interest. The cost of participating in this collective, which also includes Perham, Park Rapids, Frazee-Vergas and New York Mills, will depend on the percentage of participation from each district, Gallant noted: For instance, if the team has 20 members, and two of them are from WDC, the district would pay for a tenth of the cost — which is mostly based on ice time.

He also noted that some families with girls currently participating in Wadena youth hockey have indicated that if WDC does not offer an option for playing at the junior varsity or varsity level, they may consider open enrollment with a district that does (like Detroit Lakes or Fergus Falls).

"We do have girls and families who are really invested and want to play hockey at the varsity level," Gallant said. "I'd rather have them (stay) here."


Superintendent Lee Westrum informed the board that all of the "home" games for the collective will be played in Detroit Lakes, and all practices would be held there, which means there would be travel involved — but Gallant added that most hockey families "are used to a little more travel (than those participating in other sports)."

Some of the discussion preceding the vote, which was unanimously in favor, included how the issue of travel would be handled. "We can't use volunteer drivers," Westrum noted, adding that if any additional drivers were needed, they would have to be added on as part-time district employees.

Gallant also noted that he would prefer to have the district provide travel to and from practices and games, in order to avoid a situation where the players would drive themselves.

In other business, Gallant reported that Madison Carsten and Evan Lunde had been chosen as "Triple A" award winners for 2022-23 , and that the matinee boys basketball game set to take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2 in the WDC High School gymnasium was generating a lot of interest.

Westrum said that all WDC students in school that day — expected to number more than 1,000 — would be in attendance, which means that the game against Bertha-Hewitt will be taking place in "a packed gymnasium." The game is also open to the public, he added.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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