Publishers Note: I've had the honor of coaching and teaching Brett Hebel during the 5-year tenure at Warroad Schools #690.
More than a great athlete, Brett has that personna you strive to develop in young student/athletes.
(Cutline of picture above)
#9 Brett Hebel (front right) celebrates a goal at the
2009 MN State High School Tournament. Also pictured from L to R: #12 Dane Shaugabay, #3 Brock Nelson, #4 Michael Pieper
When did you decide that hockey was going to be your #1 sport in your life? Who got you going in this great game of hockey? What memories do you cherish most of your youth career (Mites to Bantams) and also now your Prep career?
Ever since I gave up my second year Bantams to play High School, I knew hockey would be #1. My Dad has been pushing me towards hockey for as long as I can remember. He and both my uncles played hockey so I guess I just knew I would. My most cherished memories are placing 3rd in the Fargo Flyers Squirt Tourney, going to the State Tournament my second year PeeWees, and playing in 3 Minnesota State Hockey Tournaments. Especially last year’s Championship game.
The Great Plains Elite team made an incredible run after struggling early on in the Upper Midwest Elite League. What were the deciding factors of the turn‐around ? What was it like playing for Coach Dean Grillo, a Warroad Warrior hockey alumnist? What special circumstances and experiences did you take out of the Fall Elite League and Bauer Tournament?
I think one factor was that Brock Nelson, Adam Knochenmus, and I played well together as did the other lines. We had good defense and great goaltending. Our team had good
chemistry and a good work ethic. Coach Grillo was a great coach, he was very positive and taught us a lot about playing at the next level as did Coach Scott Oliver, Tyler Palmicino and Coach Hummerdinger.
What can you say about your Warrior coaches .. Albert Hasbargen, Dennis Fermoyle, Bruce Olson, Adrian Hasbargen, Corwin Saurdiff ?
The Warrior coaches are great. They push us hard to get better and succeed on and off the ice. They also put a lot of focus on how important teamwork and commitment is.
Summer training and development is now very crucial to your career. Give us a glimpse of what you do in the off‐season to build your body and play at such a high level of hockey ?
I follow a weekly acceleration program, focusing on weight lifting and plyos. I skate when there is ice and rollerblade when there isn’t. Also, a good diet and vitamins are
an important part in training.
You've been blessed to go to the MN State Tourney in 2007, 2008, 2009. What things stand out in your mind of this coveted event at the Xcel Energy Center. What's it like to play in a Class A championship game and what do you take most out of the once in a lifetime experience?
Playing in the Xcel Center is amazing, playing against the top teams in the state. Competing in the Class A Championship game was an incredible experience. The
atmosphere is awesome with thousands of fans cheering you on and knowing this is what you worked hard for all year. I will never forget these memories, playing for your
hometown with some of my best friends.
Describe the feeling of pulling over and down a Warroad Warrior hockey jersey?
It is such an honor to put on the Warrior jersey. Especially, knowing some of the great hockey players before me that wore the Warrior jerseys.
Talk about your folks .. how significant were they in your hockey career? Is there other people you'd like to recognize and give thanks?
My dad has pushed me to succeed in hockey ever since I was a little kid. My mom has always been there for me. My whole family has been there to support me through the
years. I would also like to thank all my coaches who encouraged me and helped me improve.
St. Louis Blues center T.J. Oshie is the latest in line of NHL players to come out of Warroad. Do you watch the NHL games and what do you look for when you do? Describe the feeling of coming out of the Warrior locker room and the PA announcer says, "And here your Warroad Warriors" while the Native American chant is going on in the crowd when you hit the ice?
I watch Pro Hockey when I get a chance, especially T.J. and the Blues. I focus on their moves and see what I need to improve on. When I come out on the ice to the Warrior
chant, I have a feeling of great pride. You can’ help but get pumped up by it.
Is there anything else you'd like to add Brett? Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer tonight. I wish you the best of luck on Thursday in the Section 8A Hockey championship game versus the Thief River Falls Prowlers.
Thanks so much for your support and encouragement Tim