Growing up, hockey was life. I come from a small community called Greenway, which is made up of 12 towns or townships and holds about 1,000 kids in grades K-12. Sure we did other activities (hunting and fishing) and played other sports (many of which have also made multiple state tournament trips), but hockey is what most people outside our community know us for. We have a rich history of producing great hockey players, as well as some of the best teams in this state’s history. This past weekend, the Greenway Raiders made a trip to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament for the first time since 2001.

From a young age, hard work and great leadership allowed us to compete with the best schools in the state (yes, the Edina’s, Eden Praire’s, etc.—fill in any other Twin Cities team and we not only could play with them, but likely beat them). The leadership past down from generation to generation instilled in us a belief that if we wanted it bad enough, and that if we relentlessly worked at it, we could be better than anyone. Everyone loves a “Cinderella story” or underdog team, but even though Greenway is regularly referred to as such, we never felt like that was us. Our mindset and belief were, and still are, that we are the best because of the effort we know we are going to put in.

To say it has been a long time coming, or that it was an easy journey to get back here would be a vast understatement. This article, talks about what a long shot it was to have enough kids to continue running a hockey program in our community, let alone one that’s competitive enough to make it back to the state tournament.

This past weekend is already one of the fondest memories of my life, not because of the outcome—2nd place in Class A—but because I know the backstory and how unlikely it was for this to happen.

The picture above, to me shows the support our community still has for our team, and that belief, hard work and great leadership can lead you a long ways in what you put your mind to in life. This was the boost our Greenway community needed, but also something that our TwinTown community can learn from. Belief can get you through some tough times, and if you keep putting in the hard work, your victories will be that much sweeter when you finally reach your break through!

Way to go, Greenway! We are proud of you all!