HUDSON, Wis. -- When Jake Drewiske stepped down as Hudson boys’ hockey coach to relocate to Washington state during the offseason, his older brother Davis was more than happy to step in.
The Drewiske name is a big one in Hudson hockey circles. Jake and Davis’ parents, David and Karen, were longtime supporters of the Hudson Hockey Association, and Karen was known as Hudson’s “Hockey Mom” right up until her death in early 2014. The second sheet of ice at the Hudson Sports and Civic Center, previously known as Raider Arena, was renamed Karen Drewiske Memorial Arena in her honor in June of 2014.
Jake and Davis both played high school hockey in Hudson, with Davis part of the Raiders’ first WIAA state championship team in 2001 before going on to win a national title with the University of Wisconsin in 2006 and the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.
Following his NHL playing days, Drewiske returned to Hudson and served as a volunteer assistant with the Raiders alongside former high school teammate Brooks Lockwood. When Jake Drewiske took over the head coaching job last season Davis served as his brother’s top assistant. Now with Jake pursuing other professional opportunities in Washington state, Davis has taken over the reins at his alma mater.
“I feel grateful and fortunate,” he said. “I think this is a great community and a great hockey association, from the youth level all the way up to the high school level. I’m grateful to have been a part of it and I'm just glad that I can give back.”
So far Drewiske has gotten the Raiders off to a 3-0 start. After opening the season with a 10-0 victory over Baldwin-Woodville Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Raiders traveled to Menomonie and came home with a 9-0 win Thursday, Dec. 3, before posting a 6-1 win over Somerset Saturday night, Dec. 5.
After winning a state title as a player for hall of fame coach Mike Stoskopf and helping Lockwood bring two more state championships to Hudson in 2017 and 2018, Drewiske is committed to maintaining the tradition of winning hockey at his alma mater.
“That’s not gonna change,” he said. “The first thing we ask is for them to give their best every day. The next thing is to win a conference title. The next is a sectional title. And then a state title is the fourth thing. That's not going to change. The standard has been set pretty high and we'll try to maintain that.”
So far the formula is working. The Raiders are averaging over eight goals through the first three games, with Carter Mears leading the charge with five. He’s also dished out four assists for a team-leading nine points while all Max Giblin has done has set up his teammates with a team-high seven assists.
Hunter Danielson has scored four goals as part of a balanced Raider attack and Nick Jilek and Bryce Handberg have three each while Sam Ross has two and six other players have contributed one.
Braden Meyer, Aiden Tepper-Engh and Alex Ripplinger have all seen time between the pipes and have combined for a save percentage of .952.
Adding to the challenges in Drewiske’s first season as head coach are the uncertainties presented by the coronavirus. The Raiders were scheduled to open the season at home last week against perennial state powerhouse Wausau West, but a positive Covid test in the Warrior program forced them to cancel just 24 hours before the game and Baldwin-Woodville stepped up to fill the void.
“We appreciate Baldwin coming over kind of last minute,” Drewiske said. “I think that's just kind of the world that we’re going to be in this year. You have to be flexible and adjust on the fly. We were happy to get a game and Baldwin was willing to come over and play.”
He said the players are handling the unusual circumstances of the season well.
“I think they've been dealing with it for a while now,” he said. “The kids are resilient and tough, and they're just happy to get a chance to play and we'll just have to enjoy every opportunity we get to compete.”
The Raiders’ next chance to compete will come this Thursday, Dec. 10 against Wausau West. Hudson was originally scheduled to play River Falls that night but the River Falls School District has delayed the start of its winter seasons due to COVID so Hudson filled the void with the Wausau West game that was cancelled last week.