By David McCoy

BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) — Last weekend, the boys hockey state tournament once again electrified the state of Minnesota.

This weekend, we went from the ice to the gym for the state floor hockey tournament.

It has all the excitement of that other state hockey tournament, and a standing room only crowd to boot, but the parents for Brainerd-Pillager have extra reason to celebrate this season.

“This is our year,” parent Kandee Denny said. “These kids worked hard, and they really want it.”

The Warriors are undefeated, and the top seed in this weekend’s state tournament. They’ve outscored their opponents this season 87-28.

brainerd pillager adaptive floor hockey Adapted Floor Hockey Team The Pride Of Brainerd

(credit: CBS)

“It is amazing, it is super exciting,” said Sara Bayliss, whose son Maddox plays on the team. “I can’t even describe the feeling that it gives me when I come to watch these kids, they’re absolutely unbelievable.

Bayliss beams with pride as she watches her son play, and she appreciates how fortunate she is to be able to do so. Maddox has a disability with his foot, and having this adapted hockey team available to them in Brainerd is a really big deal.

“I didn’t know about it until we got contacted,” she said. “But to see all these kids come together, that they can actually play a sport, and do so well, it’s amazing.”

They feel especially fortunate, since Brainerd is the only team in the state, north of the metro.

“I think it’s just a great morale booster, just a confidence booster for them,” Bayliss said.

That’s why they’d love to see other northern schools start teams of their own.

“Definitely,” Denny said. “Because we travel all down to the Cities for our games, and it would be nice just to have something closer to home.”

And, of course, to have another opponent to beat.

Brainerd-Pillager won its opening game of the tournament Friday night. They advance to the state semifinals Saturday.


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