The BlackCats teams consist of a U10 team, U12 team and U14 team. The teams are a co-op between the River Falls & Baldwin (Baldwin's Program is called "BlackHawk Hockey Association") Hockey Associations. All teams play in the MN District 2 region (as U10B, U12B, U14A) as well as compete in regional playoff's in WI District 6. This is the feeder program for our Varsity Girls High School Team, The Saint Croix Valley Fusion. The BlackCats name derives from BlackHawk Hockey and River Falls WildCats Hockey. It was important we found a name that recognized both hockey associations for their participation. Go BlackCats!
It all began in 2002-2003 with a U19 Team in River Falls under the RFYHA Presidency of Tim Fredrickson. Many girls were being developed and we had no team. Tim suggested to the Board a U19 to start the program. Most thought that having younger ages first would probably be better, but in the end, this worked out fantastic as we were allowed to have girls from all age ranges play on that team and we did not have enough players to run teams at U10, U12, and U19 Levels. At that time in Wisconsin, Girls hockey was just starting to really take off.
On the first U19 team, many girls had never played before, a couple transferred over from figure skating, a few others had been playing boys hockey. It was quite a year. There were girls aged from college freshmen to 5th grade. The team took home the first girls team hardware, from the Hayward "Fire on Ice" Tourney, when they were awarded the "Team Sportsmanship Award" after losing 3 games to Fort Francis Canada...and two others we cannot remember. Those 5th graders were then sophomores on the 2007-2008 St. Croix Valley Fusion. They finished 20-1-1 in 2007-2008, losing a heartbreaker in the Section Final vs Chippewa Falls. Some HS girls joined in to play for the U19 BlackCats after the season at the Hayward "Fire On Ice" Tourney, the place where it all began, but this time playing at the U19 Elite Level and taking home the Championship in a very tough field of teams from all over the place. What growth they made in that short time.
In 2003-2004, River Falls started a U10 Squad, U14 Squad and also had the U19 Squad. The U10 and U14 teams played an independent schedule and had a good year playing teams from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota. The U14 eventually lost in the regional’s to Hudson.
The next year in 2004-2005, the girl’s hockey numbers were showing that a partnership would be very beneficial. The most likely candidate was BlackHawk youth Hockey in Baldwin, who had been playing girls hockey for several years and had players at various levels, but did not have the numbers to sustain teams at all levels (Outside of U16) and could not garner the support to build a high school team. They even had a U10 State Championship and several high ranking finishes under their belt by the time we merged. With the partnership, we were able to build a well numbered U14 team, U16 and the U19 Team once again. The U14 competed at the U14B Level in Minnesota League and the U19 played an independent schedule. The U14s took first place in the Minnesota District 8 U14B League. They won tournaments at Augsburg College, River Falls and Menomonie. The team ended up with a 32-2 record and placed 2nd in the WAHA U14 State Championship, losing 2-1 in a great game to a very good team from the Wisconsin Wild Youth Hockey group. A game still discussed by the girls involved. That year we also continued a U10 Independent Team.
In 2005-2006, we had our first year of High School Hockey, and boy it was exciting. We were again able to run a U14A team in Minnesota and added a U12B Team in Minnesota. Both teams did very well, and were a force to be reckoned with. The U14's tied for first in league in their first year at the A Level, the U12s placed in the top part of the league, and both did well in the regional's. The U14s won the Regional's in a thrilling 5-4 win over a fired up New Richmond squad and went on to place 4th in the State Tournament. The U12 team lost in the regional championship to New Richmond 2-1. New Richmond went on to win the State Championship. Many of the girls from New Richmond, River Falls and Baldwin played together in the off-season. Again, we ran a U10 Independent in River Falls this season.
In 2006-2007, the high school team, which is not part of the youth Hockey organization, had a good year losing in the regional championship to Chippewa Falls. The U14A Team tied for first with Eagan, MN in League and won the first State Championship in BlackCats History. The U12 team played at the A level in Minnesota, did very well, and placed 3rd in the WAHA State Tourney after losing in overtime to eventual champion Fond du Lac in overtime in the semi final. We did bring together the U10s from Baldwin and River Falls this year, playing in regional's and making it to the State Tournament for the first time in BlackCat History.
In 2007-2008, the entire U12A team moved up to U14A and we started from scratch with a new U12 Team, most of whom have been playing on other boys teams, the U10 team etc.
In 2008-2009, the High School Varsity Girls won their first of 3 consecutive State Championships. At the youth level, we ran a U10, U12, and U14 Program for the Girls and they wore new BlackCats Uniforms for the first time in their History with replica jerseys of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2008-2009 Styles with Black, Vegas and a hint of Red/Orange. They definitely looked sharp this year. The U14s ended up winning the U14A District 8 league once again and Advanced to State with a Region 6 Championship. They ended up winning the U14/U16 State Tournament in March. The U12s advanced to State as well with a Region 6 Championship in addition to having a great year at the U12B Level in Minnesota District 8. They competed with and defeated several teams in the top 10 in Minnesota at that Level which is a great achievement for these kids. The U10s did a great job competing for the first time in any league as a girls team. They played at the U10B level in District 8 and had a great year. Most of them are back next year to try again. They are young and determined.
In 2009-2010, the Fusion won its 2nd of 3 Consecutive State Championships, defeating Green Bay 5-2 in the final. We again ran a U10B, U12B and U14A team. The U12 Team took 3rd in the WAHA State Tournament and won several tourneys.
In 2010-2011, The Fusion won it's 3rd consecutive WIAA State Title, a feat never before accomplished by any team in Wisconsin by defeating the powerhouse Central Wisconsin Storm in 5 overtimes 3-2. Longest game ever! We switched from District 8 to District 2 in MAHA play, running a U10B, U12B and U14A. Because District 2 was short on teams, the U14A team was forced to move to District 6 with Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and other suburban powerhouses. Stillwater and a couple others from District 2 also played in District 6. The U10 Team won it's 2nd WAHA State Tournament.
In 2011-2012 we will again run U10B, U12B and U14A, all in District 2. The Fusion lost in the Section Final 2-1 to the Hayward/Spooner Hurricanes and broke their streak of tournament appearances, but they had a very good year overall. The U12 and U14 teams qualified for the 2012 WAHA State Tournament by winning the Region 6 PlayDowns and the U14 squad took home the State Title once again.
2012-2013- U10B, U12B and U14A squads were held. The Fusion lost in the Region Championship against Hayward 3-1. They had defeated Superior 3-0 and then a strong WFLGS (Webster, Frederic, Luck etc) Blizzard squad 3-1 enroute to the Sectional Final.
2013-2014- U10B, U12B and U14A squads were held. The Fusion won the Region Championship 5-0 against Superior and participated in the State Tourney, losing their first game to Onalaska in overtime 5-4. They defeated Eau Claire 3-1 and Hayward 3-0 in the Sectionals enroute to the Section Title game vs Superior.
2014-2015- U10B, U12B and U14A squads were held. The U12 team was one of the best we have ever had and have a great group moving forward. They lost to eventual State Champion Hudson by a goal in the Regional PlayDowns but did win several high level tourneys during the year. The Fusion once again lost in the Section Finals to Hayward 2-0. The defeated Chippewa Falls/Menomonie 8-0 and Eau Claire 3-1 on the way to Section Final. The Fusion has been in the Section Final every year since the team began in 2005-2006.