Year in Review 2011: Wes Walz helps coach Raptors boys hockey teamFormer Minnesota Wild player Wes Walz helped coach the East Ridge boys hockey team in 2011.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Former Minnesota Wild player Wes Walz helped coach the East Ridge boys hockey team in 2011. The retired NHL player returned to Woodbury, where he and his family lived while he played for the Wild. At the time, Walz said the move – he lived in Florida the last two years while he worked as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning – was all about giving his son Kelvin a chance to play a higher level of hockey in his final high school year.
Walz said his focus was on moving away from X’s and O’s on the ice and getting the high schoolers to concentrate on team aspects.
“No one player’s more important than the next in order to have success,” he said at the time. “That’s the message I’m hoping to bring.”
Walz served as an assistant coach and as team’s unofficial video analyst. Long said Walz spent up to three hours creating about 10 to 15 minutes of video footage to go over with the players and coaches.
“He just breaks the game down into easy teaching points for the kids and I think it’s making a huge difference,” East Ridge head coach Doug Long said at the time.
In his professional career, Walz played in the NHL 13 seasons for five teams, compiling 260 points at the center position. He spent seven seasons with the Wild before retiring in 2008. His best statistical season came in the 1993-94 season when he tallied 38 points and a plus/minus rating of 20 in 53 games played for Calgary. In 2005-06, however, Walz had a career-high 19 goals to go along with 18 assists for a total of 37 points in 82 games played for the Wild.