Bucs skate with Cardinals
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. That seems to be the motto for four Blue Earth Area hockey players. This unique quartet is determined to play hockey during the winter sports season even though their school does not currently field a hockey team.
Karson Legred, Sam Mensing, Josef Olson, and Bobby Karp will not let anything stand in their way of seeing ice time this winter. As a result, these athletes have taken their passion for hockey to arch rival Fairmont.
While going to school at Blue Earth Area, and also traveling to Fairmont for home games and donning the Cardinal colors of red and white, the boys admit playing for their sworn high school foe has taken some time to get used to.
“It’s different because there’s a core group of students that you play with for most sports, and now it’s not the same group of kids,” Legred says. “It certainly is a rivalry and it gets pretty physical in practice.”
This group of hockey enthusiasts first showed an affinity for the sport at a very early age. In fact, Karp can recall picking up his first hockey stick at the tender age of three.
As most parents are fearful of the physical nature of the sport, Karp reveals his parents encouraged him to begin playing hockey, a pastime he still enjoys today.
“They put me into leagues and let me play, and they have been very supportive ever since,” Karp said.
Family support was also the driving force behind Legred’s interest in the game. His older brother, and former multi-sport athlete at BEA, Kaylan Legred, introduced the younger Karson to the ice.
“I just followed in his footsteps and I enjoyed it, so I kept going with it,” Legred explains.
Meanwhile, Mensing was introduced to the sport by former Fairmont hockey player Nick Lang. Under Lang’s tutelage, Mensing picked up an interest in the sport and began his hockey journey roughly eight years ago.
Unfortunately for the group, Fairmont has been mired in a major slump, dropping their first seven games of the season. The Cardinals have scored a total of just nine goals during that span.
Taking a leadership role in the situation, Mensing stressed the importance of improving the team’s overall effort level.
“The amount of effort we put in is kind of the reward we get out, and the more effort we give, the better the reward,” Mensing says. “We’re just not putting enough effort into it right now to be successful.”
Moving forward, Mensing believes ending the season with eight wins is a realistic goal for the Fairmont hockey club. This would be an improvement over the five win season Fairmont experienced a year ago.
Under the guidance and exuberance of third year head coach Kris Olson, the BEA contingent believes they have the everything in place to finish the season on a high note.
“It’s really fun playing for coach Olson,” Legred says. “He really makes it interesting because he tells us to push it, a lot. That makes us push ourselves to the limit and he makes sure we’re always doing our best.”