There’s high school football in Texas, and then there’s high school hockey in Minnesota.
The way the people of Green Bay embrace the Packers, the way the people of Chicago embraced the Bulls in the 90s, the way New York embraces the Yankees, that’s the way the people of Minnesota view hockey at the prep level.
While there’s no way of knowing for sure, it’s believed that no Fairbanksan had ever made it to the State Playoff Tournament at the high school level in Minnesota.
High school junior Kaden Milles, originally from Fairbanks but now living in St. Paul, Minnesota, has helped Gentry Academy advance to the semifinals of the Class A State Hockey Tournament. His father Greg believes Kaden is the first Fairbanksan to ever reach the State Tournament in Minnesota.
Milles, who relocated to St. Paul three years ago with his family, has been a major part of the team’s success. In the regular season, Milles was responsible for 25 points in 17 games, with 12 goals and 13 assists. Remarkably, Milles has recorded 13 shots on goal for a SOG% of 92.3%. He has a +/- of 4, 1 game winning goal, and averages 1.47 points per game.
Those numbers don’t include the fantastic performance Milles put together on Tuesday. Milles came up big with two goals and one assist in Gentry Academy’s 8-0 win over Northern Lakes to move GA to the semifinals. Gentry is 16-0 on the season.
Before making it to the big stage of Minnesota prep hockey, though, Milles learned the game in Fairbanks. He grew up playing youth hockey for the Arctic Lions beginning when he was 3 years old. He now finds himself seeking the Holy Grail of high school state championships. Don’t believe a high school hockey state title in Minnesota means that much? Why not ask Fairbanks Ice Dogs General Manager Rob Proffitt how much it means.
“Minnesota is the pinnacle of high school hockey,” Proffitt said. “I don’t know of any Fairbanks kids who’ve (played high school hockey in Minnesota). It’s such an honor for him and it’s really cool for a Fairbanks kid to achieve.”
A big enough honor that Milles has gained the interest of Proffitt, Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart, and the rest of the Ice Dogs organization.
“He’s on our radar as a possible future Dogs,” Proffitt said. “I’m really looking forward to watching his quest for a Minnesota high school state trophy which is highly coveted.”
Anyone interested in watching Milles and Gentry Academy’s quest for that Class A state title can do so all the way from Fairbanks or anywhere else in the world. Minnesota is streaming all of their high school hockey games for free at Prep45.com.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at Hpisani@newsminer.com, 459-7530, or on Twitter @Hpisani91.