MANDAN, N.D., - North Dakota has 11 girls hockey team's in high school. The more consistent team's traditionally have been from Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks. Mandan is working to join that group.
The Braves are under first year head coach Ben Hertz. Ben is far from new to hockey in Mandan. He's been involved in the youth program's for a number of years and when the high school had a need, Hertz and his staff are hoping to fill that need for a long time.
"We have kind of been missing that solid role of coaching it seems like in Mandan," said Hertz. "We've had a few different faces as we have gone on. The boys program has been locked down pretty good with Leif. No, I had an opportunity, and I was approached, and I says let's go for it. Hopefully Ree, Peyton and I can be here a long time and be the face for the girls and for the younger girls to know who their coach is and what the program expects from them."
Younger is a good way to describe the Mandan roster right now. The Braves have a dozen 8th, 9th and 10th graders on the team but it's a team that likes what direction it's heading.
Mandan senior captain Justyne Mehlhoff said, "He's more dedicated to us and he puts the effort in for us and he just wants the best for us and I love it."
"The teamwork, they're coming to the rink and they want to be here, the smiles on their face and they believe that they are in it. At any given time they show up and they can compete and play with everybody so that's a wonderful thing to see as a coach right! The confidence and the attitude is everything," said Hertz.
The Braves will have the week to practice to get ready for their next game on Saturday against Williston at home.