Big news out of Cloquet this week related to the competitive world of Minnesota high school hockey. It appears the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team will be switching to Class A for the first time in the program's history.

According to the Pine Journal, Cloquet Activities Director Paul Riess told the school board during its Monday, January 23 meeting that he plans to proceed with his original plans to proceed as a Class A team moving forward. In years past a request to opt up to Class AA had been submitted for the program.

This process does require advance planning as it requires an application to be sent to the Minnesota State High School League requesting the move. This can be done every two years and this year's application deadline is Friday, January 27.

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The Pine Journal adds that discussion about a potential switch began during the board’s December 12 meeting when Riess presented the results of a survey sent out to area hockey families in the pee-wee through varsity levels asking for opinions on a possible change.

The survey revealed that out of the 77 respondents of the survey, 71 said they were in favor of playing in Class A, with many citing a desire to play against schools that were similar in size to Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

They note that In the weeks after the survey results were unveiled, two individuals changed their position in wanting the program to continue at the Class AA level of competition. However, the overwhelming majority still supported the move to Class A.

If they follow through with the switch to Class A,  Cloquet-Esko-Carlton would join Section 7A, which currently has the following ten teams competing:

  • Hermantown
  • Duluth Denfeld
  • Proctor
  • Hibbing/Chisholm
  • Rock Ridge
  • International Falls
  • Greenway/Nash-Kee
  • North Shore
  • Ely/Northeast Range
  • Moose Lake Area

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks did reportedly say they would continue to schedule and play against AA teams during the regular season, which had been a concern raised at the aforementioned December meeting.

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