Chi-Hi seniors Bryce Elkin and Couper Fosvik will get a final sendoff on the ice this weekend when they travel to Waupun for the Wisconsin senior class hockey tournament.
The Cardinal duo will play for the Section 2 team, which features some of the top seniors from around the area. It will be their final opportunity to represent Chi-Hi on the ice.
“It means a lot. It hasn’t quite set in that I’m done with high school hockey, but being able to represent Chi-Hi seems like a pretty nice thing to be able to do,” Elkin said.
It’s also their last chance to skate together as high school teammates.
“It feels good just knowing that we’re closing everything down, that this is the last time, especially to do it with Bryce,” Fosvik said. “I’ve played with Bryce for a long time, five years in a row. So to be able to play with him one last time really means a lot.”
The annual tournament pits some of the best seniors in Wisconsin against each other and offers the players another chance to be seen by scouts and make friends on the ice even though the high school season is over.
“You kind of get to create relationships with guys you’ve been competing against, or maybe didn’t know,” Chi-Hi coach Scott Parker, who will be a coach for the Section 2 team, said. “Sometimes these kids reconnect with social media. They tend to create friendships.”
The Chi-Hi duo will be teamed up with players from some of their Big Rivers Conference rival schools, among others. There’s a bit of familiarity between the players, and they’ll need to mesh quickly with the tournament starting on Saturday.
“I was surprised by the first practice. Some of the guys that I didn’t like to play against, (seeing) how cool they are, they’re actually really nice guys. I really like that aspect, actually. It’s really fun to play with guys you’ve battled so hard against and now you get to battle with them,” Fosvik said.
Elkin and Fosvik were key pieces of Chi-Hi’s team this winter. Fosvik, an honorable mention recipient on the All-Big Rivers team, anchored the defense on the first line while Elkin tied for the team lead in points during the regular season as a forward with 31.
“Bryce and Couper have been great players for us, on and off the ice,” Parker said. “It’ll be nice to see them play one more time...we’re just representing Chippewa one more time with the three of us.”
The Cardinals reached the sectional semifinals this postseason, falling to Eau Claire North 5-2 to end their season. The two seniors also played on the Chi-Hi team that went 20-6-0 and reached the sectional finals in the 2016-17 season.
“The most memorable moments by far were celebrating wins, any big win with the team after the game,” Fosvik said of his Chi-Hi career.
Elkin said he’ll remember the fun the team had off the ice, too.
“I think all the bonding we did ever since we got our (new) locker room, between spaghetti feeds, going out to eat, hanging out as a team. I’m definitely going to miss that, because it just felt like one big family,” he said.
Chi-Hi had a mix of veterans and youth on its squad this season, and the seniors had to help bring a team that had bunches of players at different points in their careers together. The Cardinals had seven freshman on the team to go along with six sophomores.
“I thought us seniors did a really good job leading the team this year,” Fosvik said. “I think we set a good example for the freshmen, and I hope that they really learned from some of the things we did well. They have a ton of potential, and I’m really excited to see what they can do. Hopefully they learned from things that we didn’t do well, as well.”
Fosvik plans to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth after graduation, and Elkin plans to go to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Section 2 opens the tournament with a game against Section 3 on Saturday morning. Elkin has a vested interest in beating Section 5—his cousin is on that team representing Neenah.
“When we play my cousin’s section, (I want to) beat him,” he said. “And just to have fun one last weekend with the boys.”