New co-head coaches leading Majettes hockey
After a sub-.500 2018-19 season, the Minot High School girls hockey team had an overhaul.
Co-head coaches MaKayla Sandvold and Christopher Stokke will lead the Majettes this season. Sandvold and Stokke take control of a Minot team that finished 9-15 (7-13 N.D. League) last season under previous head coach Weylin Wahlstrom.
“Two heads are better than one,” Stokke said. “I think we’ve worked well together. We bring a lot of things to each other. We’re open.”
A plethora of upperclassmen will bolster the Majettes’ attack and defense. Five juniors and nine seniors will take the ice for Minot this season.
Forwards Carson and Brenna Abrahamson, Dessa Flom, Averi Bradley, O’Malley Eslinger and Kaya Shaw provide senior scoring threats up top. Senior defenseman Alyssa Aguirre will work with a tandem of juniors — Paige Ackerman, Alyssa Enns and Tatum Stebleton.
Junior Amber Borkhius returns as one of the state’s premier goaltenders.
“We’re really deep this year,” assistant coach Taryn Love said. “There’s just so much. We haven’t had that in a long time, where we can have five lines of forwards. There’s so much to build off of. We have a lot of girls that we can develop throughout the year, too. Even if they’re not playing that much next year, next year they will come back and be strong players for us.”
A healthy dose of freshmen, sophomores and one eighth-grader (Jaycee Schnaible) give the Majettes a glimpse of the future.
“A lot of us have been here for a while,” Ackerman said. “We have a lot of new girls coming up. We’re all showing them how we play and how to represent our school, like we always have.”
Minot’s last campaign ended after it dropped a 3-1 state contest against Dickinson in Fargo. Both head coaches praised the Majettes’ preseason work ethic.
“They come in every single day ready to work,” Sandvold said. “They’re ready to fight for a spot. We have a lot of talent this year, so they know they need to work hard every single day. They are competing for that spot, and the competition within our team has been really good so far. It’s making the girls work hard every single day.”
Added Stokke: “They’re competitive. They know that every single practice matters. What they’re doing every shift and every rep matters. It’s going to be a tough spot to get into the lineup. We know that we’ve got girls that can play.”
Sandvold knows her way around the Minot ice, gaining experience both as a player and an assistant coach. One particular objective serves as her driving force.
“Minot is one of the few teams that hasn’t won a state title,” Sandvold said. “It’s still in my blood. I still want it really bad. Whether it’s playing or coaching, I just really want to bring it home to Minot.”
In order to keep the locker room loose, the Majettes wasted no time blasting Christmas music. Ackerman said the team enjoys listening to Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber.
“Everyone is all hyped up and energized,” Ackerman said. “It’s just fun to be in there together like that all the time.”
The Majettes will travel south for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. contest against the Bismarck Blizzard.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.