When Rogers hired boys hockey head coach Dave Brown prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, the Royals hired a man with championship experience.
Brown was an assistant coach with Wayzata during their 2015-16 Class 2A championship season. Now, Brown and Rogers hope to stay above .500 in 2020-21. In his first season with the Royals, Brown led Rogers to a 12-11-2 regular season, finishing 5-6-1 in Northwest Suburban Conference play. Rogers lost 6-3 to St. Cloud in the Section 8-2A quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Dave Torrey Arena in St. Cloud.
Brown said the Royals will be a young team this season. Eleven seniors from the 2019-20 team graduated last spring.
“We’re going to have to continually learn the speed of the game and the pace of varsity hockey,” Brown said. “Our underclassmen are going to play huge roles on our team, 5-on-5, special teams and everything in between. They’re going to have to learn by trial and error as fast as possible.”
Returning for his senior season is forward Tanner Weis. Weis finished tied for second on Rogers’ scoring list last season with 25 points in 25 games, averaging 1 point per game. He led the Royals in goals with 14. Also returning is junior forward Miken Miller, who scored 8 goals and racked up 23 points in 25 games last season.
Among the dozen seniors that have departed from Rogers, one of them was leading scorer Cal Levis. Levis led the Royals with 29 points in 25 games, averaging 1.16 per game. Levis and senior forward Trey Frederickson tied for second in goal scoring with 14 goals.
Rogers was scheduled to open the 2020-21 season against Andover on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. at Rogers Activity Center. The Royals conclude the regular season with senior night against Armstrong-Cooper on Saturday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at Rogers Activity Center.
Brown said Rogers will be tested by its opponents early in the season. All of the Royals’ opponents in 2020-21 are NWSC rivals.
“Our first three [games] are going to be good tests for us,” he said. “We come out of the gate against Andover, Blaine and Champlin [Park]. They’re all in that top 20-25 mix. They’re all great programs. We’re young and we’re going to get tested early and we’re going to see where we’re at. We’re going to try to get better over the course of 18 games.”