DETROIT LAKES – Aiden and Easton Kennedy don the black and gold of the Perham Yellowjackets eight months into the calendar yr.
Aiden, a senior, and Easton, a freshman, are multi-sport athletes at Perham Excessive College. The 2 brothers are additionally two of essentially the most essential items of the Detroit Lakes boys hockey group.
Detroit Lakes companions with Perham for girls and boys hockey. Perham youngsters play youth hockey in Detroit Lakes by means of highschool. The Kennedys aren’t the primary set of Yellowjacket transplants to put on the Laker crimson and white. Nonetheless, the Perham youngsters are main the cost offensively in a season that presents the potential to succeed in new heights.
“We’re lucky to have the partnership that we’ve got with the encircling communities, together with Perham,” Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Noah mentioned. “It is fascinating. The youngsters we get from Perham are in such unbelievable form. They’re wonderful athletes. They’re doing wonderful issues there with their coaching applications. The Kennedys’ success isn’t any accident.”
Detroit Lakes are 12-4-1 after their additional time win over North Lakes on Monday evening. Easton scored twice, bringing his season complete to 18 factors (9G, 9A). He’s fifth on the group in scoring and is the one varsity-team-bound freshman.
“He got here in like a task participant, greater than a alternative,” Aiden mentioned of Easton. “We had some lacking spots. All yr lengthy, he simply went up and up. Now, he is in all probability our greatest participant. He carries this group for us. He is essentially the most expert man we’ve got. He is in all probability will play Division I hockey sooner or later. He is aware of that. He has to step as much as the problem, and he does it properly.”
Easton gave up his senior yr of bantam hockey to play on the varsity degree. A choice to depart the chums he grew up with got here with the strain of being an impression participant.
“It was actually laborious to depart my associates,” Easton mentioned. “They have been my associates since I used to be actually younger, nevertheless it’s additionally an enormous step for my hockey profession. This season has actually helped me. I get to play for a number of the finest coaches I will play for in Tanner Lane. and Ben Noah . I am getting higher as a participant in opposition to higher gamers. I additionally get to play with my brother in his final yr of highschool hockey.”
Easton is 5 factors behind Aiden, who’s second on the group with 10 targets and 13 assists. Aiden missed most of his junior season with a shoulder harm he suffered whereas enjoying for the Perham soccer group.
On the finish of the 2021-22 marketing campaign, head coach Ben Noah raved about Aiden’s versatility and management. A yr later, he is among the captains of Detroit Lakes, main the Lakers to a No. 8 Class A rating, in keeping with Let’s Play Hockey.
“After all, at residence, he is at all times pushing me to be a greater participant,” Easton mentioned of Aiden. “He is the man I look as much as as a youth participant. He is our hardest working participant on the group. He is the one who pushes our guys if follow is not going properly. He takes us a step up and pushes us additional. Everybody look. to him and (Jacob Thomas) as a result of when issues do not go our method, they will change issues identical to that.”
Consider it or not, that is the primary time the Kennedy brothers performed organized hockey collectively on the identical group. The four-year age hole by no means introduced this chance, which they referred to as “surreal.”
“That is our first time enjoying collectively aside from on the outside rink,” Easton mentioned. “It is wonderful. I did not anticipate it to occur, nevertheless it’s been a very enjoyable yr with him.”
He is in all probability our greatest participant
Aiden Kennedy on his brother, Easton.
In most sports activities, Perham and Detroit Lakes sq. off not less than yearly. It is all a part of the pleasant rivalry that provides as much as a enjoyable locker room dynamic on the boys hockey group.
“Apart from hockey, DL and Perham have at all times been the youngsters who do not actually like one another an excessive amount of,” Easton mentioned. “Once we play one another, it is enjoyable hanging out at soccer video games or volleyball video games. However afterward, all of us speak, and it is a good time.”
After final yr’s miracle victory for Perham within the Battle for the Paddle, the Detroit Lakes-resident gamers earned twelve months of bragging rights over the Kennedys after the Lakers beat the Yellowjackets 49-6 on the gridiron in September.
“We hear about it an excessive amount of,” Easton mentioned, rolling his eyes.
The Kennedys will name themselves Lakers for 2 and a half extra months this yr earlier than their hockey season ends. Nonetheless, each of them notice the distinctive alternative in entrance of them.
Detroit Lakes hasn’t performed for a Part 8A championship since 1996. As a top-10 group in Class A with a senior-heavy roster, this yr is nearly as good as any to make a run.
“We have now to come back to follow day-after-day, and never as a group that comes anticipating to win each sport,” Easton mentioned. “We have got to win it. The final two video games in opposition to Brainerd, Alexandria, Little Falls and Northern Lakes once more, we have to come back able to win it, and that begins in follow. We have got to be prepared.”
For Aiden, the finality of his last highschool season begins. The sticks are held a little bit tighter. The legs transfer a little bit quicker. The hits are delivered a little bit more durable. He makes positive there’s nothing left within the tank in March.
“I feel all of us seniors are digging in and beginning to notice that we’re within the residence stretch proper now,” Aiden mentioned. “We’re all prepared after that. I come to the observe day-after-day to get my butt off as a result of I am not going to be sitting there on the finish of the yr saying, ‘I want I might practiced more durable. that point. I want I might have accomplished extra.’ I am doing the whole lot I can to verify I depart the whole lot I’ve received to complete the yr.”