A stellar season for first year girls hockey program Achiever Academy came to an end on Thursday when the Vadnais Heights based charter school decided to forfeit the Section 4A final to St. Paul United due to concerns over the eligibility of six team members.
The school has been under scrutiny all week over allegations that several players didn't live in Minnesota and took online classes and transfers who weren't eligible.
It marked a sad end to an up and coming program that was one win away from their first state tournament. The Aces started the season winning eight of their first nine games and also put together a 10 game unbeaten streak. They were seeded first in the Section 4A Tournament.
Did the school do the right thing? It was likely the right time to end the season rather than have the issues come up just before the start of next week's state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. If they did play Friday's game in Mendota Heights and win, the Minnesota State High School League would possibly step in and make a ruling on Achiever Academy's eligibility flap. An ineligible ruling would have meant that no game would be played and it would mean lost ticket revenue for the league and wages for arena workers. The game wouldn't have been televised on KSTC-TV since they only carry the semifinals and championship games so advertising revenue wouldn't have been lost.
According to twincities.com, South St. Paul head coach Dave Palmquist and Mahtomedi head coach Laura May mentioned about reseeding the tournament and playing Friday, Saturday and Monday. It wouldn't be a good idea since it's too close to the start of the Class A tournament and would have an impact on seeding.
So congratulations to St. Paul United, who will be playing in their first state tournament unless things change. The late Charlie Stryker, who built the program comprised of students from St. Paul Academy and Visitstion would probably be watching from a cloud. Can they prove that they are one of the eight top Class A teams in Minnesota? It all depends on their quarterfinal opponent.