By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com
In Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Midwest West Division is always an exciting circuit to watch. Every team continues to be able to beat everyone else, and the gap is very swiftly closing from top to bottom.
This is considerable, in terms of the Dells Ducks seeing the biggest year-over-year improvement (+18 points) followed closely by the Isanti Outlaws (+17). Now, to be fair, they’re closing the gap on the teams in the fourth through sixth spots. The teams above that include two more teams that saw year-over-year jumps, including the regular season champion Hudson Havoc. The Minnesota Moose improved by seven points to finish in third last year.
Between them were the first-year Minnesota Squatch, who had an outstanding debut season by posting 63 points. In the end, it was the Havoc and Moose that made the trip east to Utica for the 2023 USPHL Nationals. The Havoc, Moose and Minnesota Blue Ox have been the division’s representatives over the last three years, and they don’t want to give up their National-bound reputations any time soon.
The Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, Blue Ox, Steele County Blades and Isanti Outlaws formed a strong middle pack, but each of those teams would obviously much rather be challenging for top spot and a Nationals trip. The Ducks improved well from what was a truly down year in 2021-22, but they still have more mountains to climb to be a top four contender. The Minnesota Mullets fell into their own down year last season, but Owner/Coach Chris Walby is confident his squad can turn it back around.