The more I talk to members of the Steele County Blades hockey team, the more I hear how much the players enjoy the dynamic the squad has developed. They like playing together and being together and that has transferred the success of the season. Steele County has a winning record.

The team, and all of junior hockey across the United State Premier Hockey League, took a break for Thanksgiving. Steele County plays seven games before taking time off for Christmas and New Year's. A January highlight is participation in Hockey Day Minnesota in Mankato with a game on Sunday, January 23 at Blakeslee Stadium at Minnesota State-Mankato.

Roy Koenig/TSM

Ronan McLaughlin of Fort Wayne, IN appreciates the dedication to hockey that comes with the junior game, "It's just hockey all the time and I love hockey. It's pretty fun. It's a really good group of guys. I really surprised how well we mended, quickly. It's just everyone getting along really well. And I think you can see that out on the ice as well."

McLaughlin says he spent time with family over the Thanksgiving break, but also skated with his former prep team. He talks about that and his love of cars in the following interview.

Blades player Ronan McLaughlin

Roy Koenig/TSM

Jake Miltko calls Colorado Springs, CO his home base, but spent time growing up in Alaska as well. Outdoor ice is not a new concept and he is ready for hockey weather, "Me and the boys are all waiting for it so we can get out there on the ponds." He continued, "There was a little bit (of outdoor time) when I used to live in Alaska when I was younger. We used to skate out on the ponds, play some outdoor games. That was always fun."

He's looking forward to the outdoor game, "I think it's going to be really fun for the boys. I think it's just a great thing for junior hockey. It's a big step for us here in Minnesota. I think more things to come next year."

Steele County player Jake Miltko

Remaining regular season home games for the Steele County Blades: (The game at MSU-M counts as a 'home' game for the Blades.)

  • Sunday, December 5 vs. Hudson, 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, December 12 vs. Minnesota Moose, 7:30 pm
  • Friday, January 14 vs. Minnesota Mullets, 7 pm
  • Saturday, January 15 vs. Minnesota Moose, 7 pm
  • Sunday, January 23 vs. Mullets, 4:30 pm (at MN State-Mankato)
  • Friday, February 4 vs. Dells Ducks, 7 pm
  • Saturday, February 19 vs. Minnesota Blue Ox, 2 pm
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