Northern Star: Connor and Cooper McClure
For this week's segment, meet two Duluth Denfeld boys hockey players who are making big impacts in their first season on the team.
DULUTH, Minn. – Hockey is a family sport for Duluth Denfeld boys hockey forwards Cooper and Connor McClure.
“Ever since we were little, our dad got us on skates around the age of three, and I think we always knew that hockey would be number one in our hearts,” Connor said.
“They live next door to me so I’ve known them since they were knee high. They’re forever shooting pucks in the driveway and then they’ll switch to basketball and then it’s back to hockey,” Denfeld head coach Dale Jago added.
Their oldest brother Cam played for Duluth Marshall while their sister Cassie is a Duluth Northern Stars alum and is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Now, the sophomore twins are in their first varsity season with Duluth Denfeld.
“We’ve always dreamed of playing at Denfeld and playing varsity so it was really fun to make it,” Cooper said.
“It was unbelievable honestly. That’s been a goal of ours since we were really little so it was exciting,” Connor added.
“Our coaches at Piedmont did a good job with them developing them. But they’ve done a really good job themselves. I tell our kids that you get out what you put in and they’ve put in the time and they’ve developed the right way,” Jago added.
And they’re making an impact right away. Connor currently leads the team with 33 points off of 14 goals and 19 assists. And while Cooper has been out the past few weeks, through nine games, he has seven goals and eight assists.
“They’ve got speed and real good quickness. They’re just high level skilled kids. They’re not on the bigger side, they’re yet to fill out. But the one thing that you will notice is the speedy tempo at which they play and they can move the puck and pass the puck,” Jago said.
And they’re finding each other on the ice, playing on the same line together. Cooper has assisted on four of Connor’s goals, while Connor has gotten five assists for Cooper.
“I know where he is on the ice the whole time. I can make a backdoor play to him without even looking and he’ll probably be there. It’s just an easy connection, we’ve just had it our whole lives,” Connor said.
“Connor’s a pass first guy so I’m always open I feel like, I just know where to go and he’ll just see me. It’s very comforting. I can go out there and play my game and he can play his game and we can still make good progress out there,” Cooper added.
“They’re kind of like Frick and Frack. If you see one, you seem two. I think there’s a certain chemistry that twins have. It makes sense to keep them together more than splitting them up. Connor is kind of the playmaker and Cooper is the guy that goes to the net but having said that, Connor’s done a pretty good job for us right now,” Jago said.
With their connection stronger than ever, the McClures are enjoying their first season on varsity together, and are hoping to help the Hunters make a deep playoff run.
“He’s my twin and my best friend and my brother. Hopefully we just keep doing what we’re doing, listening to our coaches and keep getting better. We’re sophomores, we’re young, we’re going to make young mistakes like our coaches have said,” Connor said.
“It’s just a blessing. To have a brother and to play with him, it’s great,” Cooper added.