Updated: January 08, 2021 08:36 PM
Created: January 08, 2021 07:00 PM
St Thomas Academy has played in eight of the last ten Minnesota Boys Hockey State Tournaments and they both intend and appear equipped to make a return this year - assuming there is a State Tournament.
The Cadets got a huge boost when senior standout, Michigan-commit and recent NHL-draftee Jackson Hallum decided to return home for to play his senior season at STA.
Hallum was a 3rd round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in this summer's NHL Draft and began the hockey season playing juniors with Green Bay in the United States Hockey League.
Fellow senior Jared Wright, who recently committed to Colgate University, also returned from playing junior hockey in Minot, ND.
Click the video box on this page to watch KSTP Sports' interviews with St Thomas Academy's Jackson Hallum and Jared Wright as well as head coach Trent Eigner
Hallum will be a rare NHL-draftee playing high school hockey. Typically draftees are already in college or play in juniors the season after they were drafted.
Armed with Hallum, Wright and a solid collection of returners from last season's team that skated all the way to the State Semifinals has the Cadets a firm favorite to get back to State.
That is, if a tournament takes place.
The Minnesota State High School League hasn't announced if winter postseason tournaments will be held due to concerns and protocols surrounding COVID-19.
The fall sports seasons played shortened postseasons that did not result in crowning State Champions.
ST THOMAS STATE TOURNEY HISTORY (Since 2011):
Last season, their first under head coach Trent Eigner, the Cadets upset #1-ranked and top-seeded Andover in the opening round of the State Tournament before falling 3-2 in overtime to eventual champion Hill-Murray in an instant classic.
The Cadets hopped up to Class AA after winning three consecitive Class A titles from 2011 to 2013. They've made the AA field five of the last six years, with back-to-back appearances in the Semifinals - both losses to the eventual State Champions.
The new season begins Thursday, January 14th. St Thomas is scheduled to play opening night at Hastings.
Copyright 2021 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company