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Year of the Ram: Back to small-town life

With the Roseau season done, defenseman Mike Koenig plans on trying out for the Elites and hitting the links when the weather improves. (Photo by Connie Koenig)

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With the Roseau season done, defenseman Mike Koenig plans on trying out for the Elites and hitting the links when the weather improves. (Photo by Connie Koenig)

Trying to contact one of the Roseau Rams on a weeknight after their season has finished would seem to be an easy task, but as always, most of them are at the rink after dinner.

Despite a gut-punch at the state championships just one week ago, the Rams are back to doing what they love best – hitting the ice.

“It’s good skating with friends I’ve known for I don’t know how long,” said defenseman Ryan Weston. “We go for open hockey and sometimes we’ll get some scrimmages in.”

Weston, like many of this year’s Rams, will be back in the Green and White next season, but still bears the shock of the team’s semifinal loss to Hill-Murray.

“Everybody was kinda down,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do.”

For sophomore blueliner Mike Koenig, this had been his first year with the varsity squad, one he hoped would have repeated for a title.

“It was a bummer,” he said. “I thought this was going to be our year again.”

After the losses – the Rams also dropped the third place game - in St. Paul, Weston said the boys were given a post-season pep talk, where coach Scott Oliver expressed how proud he was in his charges, win or lose.

So now it’s largely back to schoolwork and open hockey at The North Rink at night.

Weston said it’s strange to pass teammates in the hall, knowing there won’t be a game that weekend, or a practice on the horizon. As the winter begins to pass in Northern Minnesota, the thirst for hockey doesn’t relent, but other pursuits do creep in.

“There’s baseball and four-wheeling,” Weston noted.

Just the chance to relax a bit is also nice for the players – after all, a good deal of the Roseau roster is just reaching the age of driver’s license exams and while having an entire town behind you is a huge thrill, the season can also be a strenuous journey.

“Sometimes it’s kind of a relief,” Koenig said of the summer break. “Now it’s open hockey and weightlifting.”

Koenig does, however, plan on getting in some formal hockey in the summer months, as well (Weston, too). He plans on trying out for Elites (a regional all-star league), and failing that, some other sort of summer league team. Some Rams coaches even offer plyometrics training for the boys, to go along with their own work.

And, like the NHLers are so apt to do, Koenig is also going to hit the links.

“I golf a lot,” he said.

With the season finished, THN.com’s Year of the Ram will continue to follow the lives of the Roseau kids.

In the latest International Scouting Services ranking, defenseman Aaron Ness is once again slated to be a first round pick.

From here on out, however, this column will appear every two weeks, for obvious reasons.

The journeys of the 2007-08 Rams are still yet to be completed, even if the official time clock has ticked down to zeroes.

The Hockey News will be following the Roseau Rams high school hockey team every week, chronicling its journey on the road back to the state championship and providing an inside look at what its like to be a teenager on one of the most fabled varsity teams in America.

Click HERE to read previous Year of the Ram stories.

For more great stories and features like this, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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