With the NHL season most likely not happening this year and the nearest major college hockey program roughly 80 miles away, local hockey fans like myself can, and probably should, look to the West Fargo Packers hockey teams to get their fix.
Both the boys and girls team started their seasons over the weekend, with the boys' team topping the Bismarck Demons 5-1 on Friday before falling to the Bismarck Century Knights 3-2 on Saturday, and the girls' team running over the Devils Lake Firebirds 12-0 on Saturday.
In the boys' first game, the team was led statistically by senior forward Derrick LaCoe, who scored a goal in both the first and third period, and junior forward C.J. Lenzmeier, who earned a goal and two assists. Senior forward Blake Nelson chipped in with two assists.
Junior goalie Bailey Vareberg stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced.
In the team's second game, senior forward Tyler Crouse scored the first goal of the game, with another assist from Lenzmeier, but the Knights came back with three unanswered goals. Nelson scored a goal midway through the third period, but Century managed to hold on and top the Packers.
Vareberg finished the game with 28 saves on 31 shots on goal.
The girls' team had a much better time on Saturday, as senior forward Hayley Walsh had five points - three goals and two assists - en route to an easy Packer victory over the Firebirds.
Senior forward Chelsea Wangen was not far behind with a goal and three assists. Senior Rachael Monkman scored two goals of her own and junior Tori Holland had three assists in the game.
The rest of the Packers' goals came from Allison Springer, Megan Berginski, Paige Lazorenko, Kelly Krahn and Noelle Turner.
Starting goalie Andrea Klug faced just three shots in two periods of play, stopping all three.
Both the boys' and girls' team will play their next game on Thursday night, with the girls hosting Dickinson at home and the boys heading to Fargo North High School to face the Spartans. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. for both games.