Rock Ridge Begins New Era of Boys Hockey on the Iron Range

The Wolverines will drop the puck on their inaugural season on Tuesday, Nov. 30 on the road against Greenway. 

VIRGINIA, Minn. – For the past year, multiple Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia athletic teams have been merging into Rock Ridge. And now, a new era of boys hockey on the Iron Range has officially begun, as the Rock Ridge Wolverines are wrapping up their first ever week of practice.

“There’s so much rich hockey history with Eveleth and Virginia and to jam it all together, it’s a new time but it’s also exciting,” head coach Ben Johnson said.

A year earlier than panned, these two longtime rivals are putting aside their differences.

“We just told them we’re one now and these are your teammates,” Johnson said.

“I feel like it will be weird originally just starting out but then I think once we get going, it’s just going to feel like any other season,” senior forward Brenden Swan added.

Due to the merge, the Wolverines had over 50 players try out, which is allowing them to be more competitive.

“You could be replaced if you don’t work hard so that drive is there and they know it, if there’s somebody behind them that can take their spot,” Johnson said.

“It will bring out the completive level a lot and a lot of players will be fighting for a spot and before, I don’t think Virginia or Eveleth had that,” senior defenseman Braden Tiedeman added

And that competitive nature early is what the Wolverines what, as they’re already thinking about challenging for that section 7A title.

“It’s an amazing opportunity that we have to finally compete against a team like Hermantown and finally take home a state championship,” Swan said. 

And now this new program is ready to officially open this new era in their new facility at the Iron Trail Motors Event Center 

“Obviously I’ve never played in a really nice area, I’ve always had to play in the Hipp or the Miners. It’s just a totally different atmosphere and I feel like once we have fans in here, it’s just going to be unreal,” Swan added. 

Rock Ridge will drop the puck on their inaugural season on Tuesday, Nov. 30 on the road against Greenway.

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