By Jim Bastian
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - Last week, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) realigned sections in Minnesota for the next school year.
Two of those realignments affected New Ulm High School, one in boys hockey and the other in wrestling.
In boys hockey, New Ulm was moved to Section 2AA because of its co-op with New Ulm Cathedral, Minnesota Valley Lutheran, Sleepy Eye Public, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's and Springfield and the combined enrollments of the schools.
That meant that New Ulm would have been placed in a section with Academy of the Holy Angels, Bloomington Jefferson, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Edina, Shakopee and LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter-Tri-City United.
"Would" is the key word here.
"We knew that was going to happen," New Ulm High School Activities Director Chad Eischens said. "We had not re-worked our co-operative agreement. We had received an exemption from the MSHSL the past two years to move down to Class A based on the fact that we were not getting a lot of hockey players from some of our co-operative schools. We had one player from Springfield last year and this year we had no players from either Springfield or Minnesota Valley Lutheran, but we do have to count their numbers for our enrollment."
Eischens said that he is going to rework the co-operative agreements with the involved schools.
If New Ulm is moved back to Section 3A again - and it appears that will happen - it will have two new teams in the section in Morris-Benson Area and Willmar, who were both realigned into Section 3A.
"Morris is in our section for baseball and wrestling and we are trying to get Willmar on our boys hockey schedule for next year - we do have one open spot yet," Eischens said.
He said that last week he sent a note to all of the athletic directors in the co-op and asked them about all of the co-op sports.
"If I am going to look at one of them (boys hockey), I may as well look at all of them," he said.
New Ulm Eagles boys hockey coach Erik Setterholm said that the initial realignment into Section 2AA was silly.
"We cannot compete with those schools in hockey -they are Metro powerhouses," he said. "But we anticipate that we will still be in Section 3A next year."
Setterholm said that the addition of both Morris-Benson and Willmar to the section will help.
"They both have a varsity and a JV program," Setterholm said. "In the past we have had a number of teams in our section have a varsity and no JV team."
"We were down to nine teams in our section this year, so getting two good teams will help," he added.
New Ulm has kept all of its non-conference games from last year to next season and has also added Providence Academy to its schedule.
Also realigned was New Ulm wrestling.
"We have been moved from 2AA into Section 3AA," Eischens said. "So now we are going out west. The individual competition is in Luverne. That section goes from Luverne to Morris. New Ulm is as far east as it goes and down to Fairmont."