8U Membership in 2018-19: 237
Lakeville North and Lakeville South have been the state tournament representatives for Section 1 in nine of the last 10 seasons, but will the balance of power shift? Farmington has registered almost 250 8U players four years in a row, up substantially from 129 in 2013-14, an increase of 84%. The Tigers disrupted Lakeville’s dominance with a surprise state tourney berth in 2016 and are poised to do it again.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 297
Eden Prairie and Minnetonka are no strangers to state in Section 2, with the Eagles making seven appearances in the last 10 years, and the Skippers winning it all in 2018. But Prior Lake is planting its seeds as continuous growth has the program on the verge of Top 10 largest Mite/8U programs. Dating back to 2011-12, Prior Lake/Savage grew by 95 kids at the 8U level, from 173 to 297 players, a 72% increase.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 278
The Irish are already reaping the benefits of youth hockey growth, punctuated with a South Suburban Conference championship last spring. But it looks like they’re just getting started. Two years ago, Rosemount surpassed 300 registered 8U players for the first time ever, doubling its total from 2007-08, and nearly tripling it from the early 2000s. Don’t sleep on Park-Cottage Grove though as the Cottage Grove 8U base (314 in 2018-19) has risen each of the past six seasons and is now the largest 8U program in the southeast metro.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 350
White Bear Lake may not be a surprise state tournament team with their recent appearance, but 8U numbers continue to grow. The 350 players in 2018-19 is way up from 246 in 2012-13. If you’re looking for a new challenger, Mounds View is a good dark horse selection. The Mustangs have not made it to state since the 1970s, but 8U membership has soared the past four seasons, including a record-setting 260 kids last year.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 238
No stranger to state, the Cougars have made three appearances this decade and won it all in 2004. In the last six years, Centennial’s 8U program has bloomed by 46%, from 163 to 238 in a positive trend. But Maple Grove will have plenty to say about that. The Crimson have eclipsed the 500-mark at the 8U level in two out of the last three seasons and continue to cultivate huge numbers.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 459
The Trojans’ first-ever state title came in 2016, ten years after their highest 8U total on record (474). Wayzata’s base has increased in each of the past five seasons, from 353 to 459, marking their first time above 450 since 2006-07 and giving them the second most 8U players in the state behind Osseo-Maple Grove.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 191
Grand Rapids may be a perennial tourney contender, but guess what: 8U membership has skyrocketed by 41% in the last six years. The Thunderhawks aren’t going anywhere.
8U Membership in 2018-19: 224
The increasingly competitive Section 8 will not just be Moorhead, Roseau and Bemidji’s playground. In the past 10 years, St. Michael-Albertville’s 8U numbers have crept up from 137 all the way to 224, including four straight seasons of surpassing the 200-mark.