People and Places – April 2017

Floor hockey champions crowned North Suburban and Brainerd/Pillager are this year’s adapted floor hockey champions. The teams won titles in […]

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Floor hockey champions crowned

North Suburban and Brainerd/Pillager are this year’s adapted floor hockey champions. The teams won titles in the Minnesota State High School League tournament, held March 17-18 at Bloomington Jefferson High School. Titles were awarded for co-ed teams whose members have physical disabilities (PI) and developmental and cognitive disabilities (CI).

North Suburban defended its CI title with a come-from-behind victory over St. Cloud Area. The Cougars were behind 3-0 but came back to win, 10-7. Junior Josh Hamann scored five goals to pace the defending champions, who finished their season 16-0.

North Suburban topped Wayzata/Minnetonka and Maple Grove to reach the title game. St. Cloud Area topped Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville and South Washington County to get there.

Maple Grove defeated South Washington County, 18-2, for third place. Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville won the consolation championship over Wayzata/Minnetonka, 10-2. Owatonna and New Prague/Tri-City United/LeSeuer-Henderson/Belle Plain/Jordan were also in the tournament.

North Suburban had three athletes named to the all-tournament team: Hamann, Anthony Bengston and Jonathan Caliendo. Other team members are Tyler Everts, Brian Jones and Matthew Neuman, Anoka-Hennepin; Mohammed Konneh and Jason Robins, Maple Grove; Tyler Tinucci and Nicholas Jones, South Washington County; Kombe Khawi of Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville and Ashley Gabrielsen of Wayzata/Minnetonka.

Brainerd/Pillager preserved it perfect 15-0 season with an 8-4 win over Anoka-Hennepin for the PI title. Junior forward Jake Heikkenen led the champion Warriors with five points.

Brainerd/Pillager topped Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville and Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka to advance to the title game. Anoka Hennepin beat St. Paul Humboldt and Rochester.

Third place was won by Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka over Rochester, 7-4. Dakota United defeated Maple Grove, 7-1, for the consolation crown.

All-tournament team members are Heikkenen, Zachary Denny and Cody Vieck of Brainerd/Pillager; Tyler Ezell, Kai France and Joey Manion, Anoka-Hennepin; Hayley Engebretsen and Andy Hanson, Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka; Sean Healy and Colby Jensen, Rochester; Kyra Patterson, Dakota United and Navarro Tollefson, Maple Grove.

The PI tournament had two overtime games, including one that went into double overtime. Only one school, Maple Grove, had both of its teams reach the state tournament.

Prep adapted hockey has seen an uneven trend in recent years. Most teams are a combination of schools, meaning that traditional sports conference rivals sometimes work together to field adapted hockey quads. While the CI division has seen growing numbers of athletes, some PI teams have seen a drop in numbers.


Educator Challenge winners named

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is pleased to announce the five winners of the 2017 AuSM Educator Challenge. They are Courtney Hess, Forest Lake Project Search–Fairview Lakes, Forest Lake Public Schools; Heather Jacobs, White Bear Lake Area High School, White Bear Lake School District; Mary Jensen, Leaf River Academy, Freshwater Education District; Angie Young, Stevens Elementary, Dawson-Boyd and Linda Wagner, Willow River Elementary, School District of Hudson, Wis.

Educators in Minnesota and surrounding states were invited to share strategies on how they encourage and motivate their students in the classroom. Winning teachers’ tips included incorporating “brain breaks,” relating to students by learning about students’ special interests, flexible seating options, incorporating a “refocusing zone” and using optical illusions to show how our brain can sometimes trick us.

The five winning teachers will present their strategies during Chris Ulmer’s keynote presentation at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference from 8:30-10:30 a.m., Friday April 28. Chris Ulmer is a special education teacher and motivational speaker who founded Special Books by Special Kids, an organization that seeks to normalize the diversity of the human condition under the pillars of honesty, respect, mindfulness, positivity and collaboration.

The 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, April 26-29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, will feature more than 34 expert-led presentations on cutting-edge topics, 40 exhibitors offering products and services to those affected by autism, the AuSM Bookstore, networking, and much more. For more information and to register, visit


Governor names appointees

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed several people to state boards, commissions and committees. This includes appointees to two groups serving Minnesotans with disabilities.

Kristina Petronko of Minneapolis will served on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, as the client assistance program representative. Petronko replaces Rochelle Chen and will serve until January 2019. Marty Duncan of St. Peter will serve on the Board of Minnesota State Academies, as the superintendent member. He will serve until January 2018 and replaces Todd Sesker. Duncan has a long career in education and was a school superintendent for 30 years. He is a published author and native of Faribault, where he delivered newspapers to what are now the state academies there.



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