Cotter Schools’ very own boys’ hockey team is ready to hit the ice in preparation for its first varsity season in over 40 years. Cotter, a private Catholic school serving 900 K-12 students has educated generations of area students for more than a century. Now it is venturing into the sport of hockey with hopes of putting the school on the map as a destination for student athletes wanting a strong academic experience and athletic opportunities.

At the helm for the Ramblers is veteran coach Martin Raymond, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience around the globe. Raymond said he was drawn to Cotter because of the school family and the potential to build a strong program from the bottom up. Last year the Ramblers played a junior varsity schedule and saw mixed results.

“I am very excited for our first varsity season,” said Raymond. “Starting a team fresh is an adventure, and we are ready to show what we got. It won’t be easy, but nothing good ever is.”

The Ramblers will play a 24-game regular season schedule, with 13 home games split between the city-owned Bud King Ice Arena and the St. Mary’s University Ice Arena. The team had its first practice on Monday, November 15, and began the season with a road game at La Crescent-Hokah on November 24. The team will participate in a tournament in Marshall, Minn., and also the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.

With just 13 players, which includes two goaltenders, the Ramblers know they will have some growing pains. Most of the Ramblers opponents will dress more than 20 players on gameday.

“We didn’t back down from anyone when putting together our schedule,” said Raymond. “We will be ready to give our all each and every day. Our boys will be prepared.”

With traditional powers like The Breck School and Rochester Lourdes on the schedule, Coach Raymond is focused on doing things the right way. “Wins will come. We want to promote the game of hockey and our program by doing things correctly,” he said. “We plan to partner and work together with the area youth programs and the other high school team in town.”

The Ramblers have named their lone senior Ashur Rouleau as the team’s first captain. Raymond said that Rouleau has the necessary tools to be the team’s leader. “Ashur is a great kid, who will represent our team well,” said Raymond. “He is very capable of being our on-ice leader.”

For Rouleau wearing the captain’s “C” is a humbling honor. “My teammates and our coaches are what make this team special,” said Rouleau. “We are all excited to be part of Cotter history that represents our school and community. It’s going to be a fun season.”

As the Ramblers start the new season and a new era at Cotter, enthusiasm for the sport of hockey is at an all-time high.

“These boys realize the significance of this moment,” said Raymond. “We will do our best every day to represent Cotter in a very positive light.”

For more information, please visit www.cotterhockey.org, @CotterHockey on Facebook and Twitter, and @cotterhockey on Instagram.