Friday, March 17, 2017

Should Hermantown move up to Class AA?

The debate has heated up as of late on whether Hermantown should move up to Class AA. For now, it appears that the Hawks will be staying put in Class A, but official word will come down when section realignments are announced. Hermantown has now been in the state tournament eight consecutive times, winning the championship on the last two attempts. I do not believe a team should be forced to up a class based on success alone.  If their resources are superior to anyone else in the class, then they should move up to remove the roadblock of allowing other teams in the section to reach state.

Looking at the team's regular schedule, over half of the opponents were in the bigger class. This suggests the that the school is at least flirting with the idea of moving up a class.  Since they have a foot in the door, so to speak, why not make the leap? Hermantown fared quite well too.  Their only loss of the season came against Wayzata in the opener.

One of the factors to look at is enrollment. Here are the 2016-17 numbers for the public schools that made the state tournament in Class A:

Hermantown: 614
Delano: 712
Mahtomedi: 1113
East Grand Forks: 468
Northfield: 1141

Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth on the northwest side, is the second smallest school in the tournament, so school size is not much of an argument to move up to Class AA.

Looking at social-economic factors, such as financial resources, the median income for a family is $55,632 in Hermantown.  This is compared to $63,011 in Delano, $81,923 in Mahtomedi, $47,846 in East Grand Forks, and $61,055 in Northfield. Again, this is another factor where Hermantown does not soar above the rest. Hermantown does have the Duluth area to utilize with it's infrastructure, which provides a disadvantage to rural schools that compete in the same class.

Basically, it all comes down to level of competition since enrollment and social-economic factors do not explode of the charts. If Hermantown wants to act like a AA team and fill their schedule with big school opponents, then they should move up already and go all-in.  Obviously, they are having success against the bigger schools, so it makes sense for the school and hockey in the state.  Hermantown would be a great fit for Section 7, and Elk River could move to a more geographical fit in a metro section.  Imagine the excitement at Amsoil for a Hermantown-Duluth East playoff matchup?

It is fun to dream of the possibilities of Hermantown squaring off against one of the metro powerhouses in a state tournament game.  How great would that be?

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