The Beaver Dam boys hockey team has a new leader but still hope to build off of last year’s season that saw them go 18-8-2 and reach the WIAA Division One Sectional Final.
Beaver Dam native Doug Kraft was hired as the program’s new head coach this summer after Jose Matamoros resigned the position for personal reason. Kraft is no stranger to Beaver Dam hockey as he spent eight seasons coaching youth hockey in Beaver Dam and four years as a high school assistant on Chris Huebel’s Golden Beaver Dam staff from 2014 to 2018. He had a one-year stint during the 2018-19 season as the head varsity coach at Stoughton before his job moved him to Missouri where he served as a youth coach. With his job moving more virtual he was allowed to move back to the area and take the reigns of his hometown team.
With this unique season, the Golden Beavers first few practices have been busy as they try and squeeze both conditioning and introducing team systems at the same time. Coach Kraft says they had to get creative in how to get all the work in that they need to but it’s getting accomplished. Coach Kraft adds that his system is pretty similar to what has been run by the program the previous few seasons so the players have been able to grab it pretty quickly. He says that part of the process has been really good for them.
“It’s fun to be dynamic but I also believe in taking care of the defensive zone, making sure kids are positionally sound and buying into six players working to keep the puck out of our own net. That being said, we got some goal scorers on this team and we’re gonna have to look for ways to make sure that we are not playing too much defense because we have to score goals to win and that’s the side of the game players typically enjoy more.” Kraft told DailyDodge.com. “On the defensive side of things we like to be as perfect as we can and on the offensive side we like to let the kids be creative.”
Coach Kraft says he’s got a good mix of returning players and nine rookies on this year’s squad. Three dynamic goal scorers return this year in Ian Conlin, Wesley Biel and Gavin Hearley. Defensively, Coach Kraft expects his team to be solid, led by three juniors; Conner Strasser (Honorable Mention All-Badger North), Eli Uttech, and Brady Shaw. The Golden Beavers are very strong led by Kirk Davis who garnered 1st team All-Badger North recognition last season and may have been the hottest goalie in the state during the postseason. Fellow returning goalie Noah Banes also looks to battle for ice time. And Kraft says that he likes the potential of freshman Henry Vick.
The Golden Beavers are scheduled to open the season on Thursday, December 3rd in Janesville. With COVID-19, the schedule is always changing, so the best way to keep up to date as to where and when BDHS is playing click the link below.
Click the link below to hear a full season preview with BD boys hockey coach Doug Kraft
If you have a question about this story or have an idea for a future local sports story, please email Wade Bates at [email protected]