Staff Directory 6370599

David La Vaque

Reporter | High school sports
Phone: 612-673-7574

David La Vaque is a high school sports reporter who has been the lead high school hockey writer for the Star Tribune since 2010. He is co-author of “Tourney Time,” a book about the history of Minnesota’s boys hockey state tournament published in 2020 and updated in 2024.


La Vaque previously spent 18 months covering high school sports at the Woodbury Bulletin. La Vaque has written frequently about Minnesota State High School League news, football, hockey, lacrosse and track and field. A native of St. Paul, La Vaque lives in Woodbury. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Communication Studies, Rhetoric and Applied Business. La Vaque is researching a book on the history of the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament. In his free time, he enjoys running and biking and listening to music.
Recent content from David La Vaque
Hermantown's AJ Francisco (left) and St. Paul Cathedral's John Hirschfeld waited for the puck to drop during the Class 1A championship game.

USA Hockey leans on Minnesota to fortify under-17 roster

Eight from the state make up more than a third of the development program's squad. Two played for their high schools last season.
Barber Akeem Akway watches as Hopkins basketball standout Anthony Smith Jr. scores mid-haircut at Akway's Sports Barbershop in Eagan.

High school sports and NIL: Bigger things are ahead for younger stars

Name, image and likeness deals are already expanding beyond college sports. Some top metro boys basketball players are aligned with a barbershop. The top girls hockey player touts a fitness center. Another high school standout represents a chain of chicken restaurants.
Zack Friedli, who coached three seasons with Chanhassen High School, is becoming head coach at Holy Family.

Holy Family hires boys hockey coach from program on the rise

Zack Friedli, who was associate head coach as Chanhassen reached the Class 2A final, will take over the Fire.
Totino-Grace coach Nick Carroll sends a message to his team Saturday during the Class 3A championship game.

Totino-Grace's 3A dominance leads to the opt-up question

Totino-Grace played a schedule almost entirely from 4A. Also Saturday, Cherry completed a rise from 0-22 to a state title, and Breck's Miles Newton channeled his dad.
Isaiah Johnson-Arigu takes a moment with the Class 3A championship trophy after he led Totino-Grace to the title with 25 points Saturday against Manka

Totino-Grace makes it three, winning another Class 3A state title

The Eagles surged away from Mankato East on the strength of senior Isaiah Johnson-Arigu's dunks and his 25 points.
Fertile-Beltrami guard Caiden Swenby (23) celebrates his team’s 3OT win against West Central Area in a boys Class 1A semifinal game on Friday.

Boys basketball championship games set in all four classes

Breck and Badgers-bound Daniel Freitag flew past Minnehaha Academy in Friday's first Class 2A semifinal. and will face Lake City Fertile-Beltrami and Cherry, led by Gophers-bound Isaac Asuma, advanced to Saturday's Class 1A championship.
The Cherry bench erupts after a Noah Asuma three-pointer in Friday's 76-58 victory over Nevis in Class 1A semifinals at Williams Arena. Nevis coach Sc

Small-class semifinals at Williams Arena makes for a big day at The Barn

Breck entered the tournament missing one key intangible, but it hasn't held back the Mustangs — yet. Nevis coach Scott Kramer made a bold prediction for Cherry, which is treating its third state tournament appearance as a business trip.
The action goes on near the rim as Cretin-Derham Hall guard Jason Johnson drives for a layup challenged by Farmington’s Tyler Beckwith.

It's all right here! Wednesday's boys basketball tournament news, notes.

Eagan pulled off the biggest surprise of the quarterfinals, dropping Class 4A second seed Park Center. Tap here for game results and more from the first day of play.
Farmington cheerleaders wore tournament-themed bows in their hair during Wednesday's game.

We call this fun: State boys basketball opens with a 12-game day

A Wayzata sophomore spiced an early 4A quarterfinal with his passing. The 3A teams also got going before lunch, and 2A schools will take over the night.
Hopkins’ Tatum Woodson (right) battles Maple Grove’s Ava Cossette for the ball during the first half of a Class 4A girls basketball state semifina

Rivals to battle it out for Class 4A title in girls basketball; 3A championship also set

The finals are solidified in the top two classes while the top four seeds in Class 1A advanced to the semifinals. Tap here for coverage on all of Thursday's games.
Fans attending Day 2 of the Minnesota girls basketball state tournament will see which teams advance from the Class 1A quarterfinals and the Class 4A

Iron Range family starred for one basketball team; next generation stars for another

Moments of March: The Lamppa family was the foundation of a small school that no longer exists. This year, the Lamppas were key to another school's state tournament run.
Minneapolis Roosevelt coach Tyesha Wright points the way Wednesday during her team's Class 3A quarterfinal.

Big day for a first-time tournament team -- despite the final score

Moments of March: Roosevelt fans showed up in numbers for the Teddies' first state tournament game. Plus this from a coach with a unique angle: 'Caitlin [Clark] is good, but I still think Paige [Bueckers] is better.'
Benilde-St. Margaret’s Kate Kapsner goes up to the net defended by Roosevelt’s Olivia Wren, left, and Jaida Walker, right, during the first half o

Girls basketball state quarterfinals: Wednesday's news and notes

The day began with top seeds Hopkins and Benilde-St. Margaret's rolling, and it wound down with Providence Academy's Maddyn Greenway scoring 49 points. Tap here for stories, tournament details and more from Minneapolis.
Chanhassen captain Jake Risch (8) and teammate Andy Earl dealt with it when Edina won the Class 2A championship game.

Chanhassen's 'season none of them will forget' will just have to do

The Storm achieved their dream of reaching the state tournament for the first time, and the run continued into the championship game before Edina stopped it.
Edina players celebrate after forward Bobby Cowan scored what became the winning goal Saturday.

Five reasons Edina became the boys hockey state champion

The program's 14th state championship featured, of course, a hot goalie, but it also came with a list of intangible reasons for success.
The Chanhassen Sorm struck a state tournament pose after beating defending state champion Minnetonka to win a spot in the Class 2A hockey tournament.

Chanhassen's Chase: A state tourney journey. Read the complete series

Our special report followed the Chanhassen Storm from their hopes at the beginning of the boys hockey season to fulfilling their dream of a berth in the Class 2A tournament with an upset in an unforgettable section final game.
Minnetonka's Hagen Burrows (19) and Chanhassen's Kam Hendrickson tangle during the section final. On Sunday,  Burrows and Hendrickson were honored as

The top seniors in boys hockey add to their stacks of honors

Minnetonka forward Hagen Burrows was declared Mr. Hockey, and Chanhassen goaltender Kam Hendrickson won the Frank Brimsek Award.
Chanhassen fans showed up dressed for the occasion, heavy on gold, for their team's first try at a state championship.

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from Championship Day

Edina became the Class 2A champion, St. Cloud Cathedral won in 1A, the attendance record fell, we took one more look at Lou Nanne and we heard dramatic talk from the winners and the others.
Edina players make the traditional heap to celebrate their Class 2A hockey championship Saturday.

Gone green: Edina surges to its 14th boys hockey championship

Edina scored two third-period goals, ending Chanhassen's dream of winning a title in its first tournament trip.
Chanhassen's Tyler Smith was surrounded by support after he scored Friday. On Saturday the support came from a visiting aunt and a skate-sharpening da

Chanhassen awakens, sort of, to prep for the state championship game

Coaches admitted to sleepiness at morning skate but mixed it with determination, and supporters who showed up had a wearisome travel tale.
Chanhassen got plenty of participation with its whiteout strategy for Friday's Class 2A semifinal.

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from the hockey semifinals

Edina and Grand Rapids revived a rivalry late in the day, giving credence to the notion that Friday is always the hottest spot in state tournament week.
Owen Buesgens continues the onslaught by Chanhassen, scoring the team's sixth goal Friday.

After close games set 1A final, drama is low for the 2A qualifiers

Chanhassen and Edina comfortably landed spots in the Class 2A final, and Hermantown and St. Cloud Cathedral both needed extra time to escape the 1A semifinals.
CDH goalie Owen Nelson allows the third goal of the game in the first period.

Getting ready for the semis, Storm wakes up with a skate

A small group — this small: two people with love for assistant coach Sam Sather — greeted Chanhassen at the Eagan Civic Center for a wake-up skate.
Nathan Garski's goal became a social-media darling.

Grand Rapids' hero on goal with 1.6 seconds left: 'I just tucked it in'

Sophomore Nathan Garski sunk White Bear Lake and inserted himself into the history of the boys hockey state tournament with a short moment tall on importance.
Head coach Sean Bloomfield helps set some lunch for his team on Thursday.

Chanhassen devours lunch after feasting on Rochester Century/John Marshall

The Storm encountered more drama eating Chipotle in their St. Paul hotel than they did in their first state tournament game.
The puck goes over Rochester Century/John Marshall goalie Kyle Lappi (50) while Chanhassen's Caden Lee (24) watches. Lee recorded the assist — his s

Last-second stunner by Grand Rapids caps 2A hockey quarterfinals

Edina and Chanhassen won easily while Cretin-Derham Hall won in double overtime and Grand Rapids on a goal with 1.6 seconds left.
Chanhassen fans celebrate the team’s second goal in the second period against Rochester Century/John Marshall of Thursday's first Class 2A quarterfi

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from Class 2A quarterfinals

Cretin-Derham Hall goalie Owen Nelson wears his heart on his head, and it's the last call for a legend in the broadcast booth.
The puck took flight in front of Mahtomedi forward Tommy Lewin, left, during the final game of Wednesday's Class 1A quarterfinals.

Minnesota boys hockey state tournament: Class 1A quarterfinals roundup

There were three one-sided games and a thriller in the nightcap of Class 1A. Tap here for all of our coverage from the X.
The Chanhassen boys hockey team got a sendoff from the school band (and an fire truck escort) as it headed to St. Paul for the state tournament.

A bus filled with hockey dreams heads to state for the first time

The band played and a fire truck escorted the Chanhassen Storm out of town for the school's first-ever appearance in the Minnesota boys hockey tournament.
Bobby Sansone, flanked by other Orono supporters, celebrates a first-period goal against Mahtomedi on Wednesday. That was before matters deteriorated

Behind the scenes at the boys hockey state tournament

Sights and sounds from the Xcel Energy Center include Warroad honoring Henry Boucha and a player tip on how you can use pickles to keep the energy up in overtime.
Clockwise from top left: Nolan Roed of White Bear Lake, Carson Pilgrim of Warroad, Gavin Uhlenkamp of Chanhassen and Jackson Nevers of Edina are Mr. H

Why so many high school hockey stars this season? Coaches explain.

One indication of the strength of this year's class is the number of nominations for the state's Mr. Hockey award. Coaches cited three major reasons why this was an excellent year.
New Ulm boy’s hockey players look out at the ice before taking on Warroad in a Class A boy’s hockey quarterfinal game at Xcel Energy Arena.

Talking Preps podcast: Breaking down the boys hockey state tournament

Andover boys hockey coach Mark Manney dishes on this week's Class 1 A and 2A state tournament fields.
Chanhassen goaltender Kam Hendrickson will be on a hot spot Thursday morning, when his team plays at state for the first time.

The state tourney goalie with a challenge — and a sister he can't let down

Kam Hendrickson, Chanhassen's star goaltender, heads to the state hockey tournament with the enthusiastic support of his sister Gabriella. And with the intent of spreading awareness about Down syndrome.
Jackson Nevers of Edina and Caden Lee of Chanhassen are big parts of Class 2A tournament teams.

Eight teams, four games: Where it all begins in Class 2A boys hockey

Know the big scorers, meet the goaltender and learn the facts for each of Thursday's state quarterfinalists.
Minnetonka forward Hagen Burrows, the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year in boys hockey, photographed on the backyard rink of Tom Schoolmeester

'The Professor' is in: Meet the boys hockey Metro Player of the Year

Minnetonka's Hagen Burrows, known for his hockey acumen (not to mention that 4.1 GPA), stood out on a team loaded with standouts.
The All-Metro first team in boys hockey, from left: defenseman John Stout of Minnetonka, forward Hagen Burrows of Minnetonka, forward Jackson Nevers o

Who made the boys hockey All-Metro teams? Our best 26 players.

Four first-teamers plan to make Minnesota colleges their next stop, one staying in town to play with the Gophers. The second team features players choosing state rivals.
Edina, led by coach Curt Giles, is the top seed in the boys hockey state tournament.

Perennial power, newbie and 'bunch of nobodies' receive top hockey seeds

Edina is No. 1 in the Class 2A boys state bracket, Chanhassen is No. 2 in its first trip to state and Centennial is No. 3.
White Bear Lake books a boys hockey trip to Xcel Energy Center

White Bear Lake books a boys hockey trip to Xcel Energy Center

The Bears defeated rival Hill-Murray with a goal 36 seconds into the game, plus two empty-netters and Leo Gabriel's shutout goaltending.
Chanhassen players, including forward Tyler Smith (16) and defenseman Ben Curtis (21), celebrate their 2-1 win over Minnetonka in the section final.

Taking down Goliath: Chanhassen stuns Tonka for first tourney trip

Minnetonka was undefeated, top ranked and the defending 2A champions. Andy Earl scored both goals and Kam Hendrickson made 44 saves in the 2-1 upset.
White Bear Lake's Nolan Roed (9) was involved in 2022 when his team and Hill-Murray played one of their many section finals. They've played 19 since 1

'The Rivalry' looms just as White Bear Lake regains its hockey health

A section championship game against Hill-Murray is a standard part of the season for the Bears.
Chanhassen players listened in their dressing room as coaches gave instructions earlier this season. The Storm are playing Minnetonka for a trip to ne

Big night arrives: Can underdog take down Tonka for its first trip to state?

The Chanhassen Storm boys spent the season chasing their first state hockey tournament berth. What's in the way tonight? The undefeated and defending state champ.
Sentiment from 2020 applies in 2024 for the Elk River-Zimmerman boys hockey team, which has advanced to the section final as a fourth seed.

We ignite the 51 Hours of Fury with a giant slain, a moment to be seized

Fourth seed Elk River-Zimmerman ended Moorhead's streak of section final appearances at 23. Now the Elks face Buffalo/Annandale for a spot in the boys hockey tournament.
Edina rolls past Wayzata and into the state tournament

Edina rolls past Wayzata and into the state tournament

The Hornets gave up a goal 1:37 into the game, but they scored the next four and seized the section title.
Coach Sami Cowger (center back) and the Edina bench watched the final seconds of the Saturday's championship game count down.

Five moments that made Edina a girls hockey state champion

It was no simple season, far separate from those three-peat years of 2017-19, coach Sami Cowger said: "This team showed up and bought in at the right time."
Grace Zhan of Hill-Murray (top row) was selected Jori Jones Senior Goalie of the Year, and Ayla Puppe of Northfield was designated Ms. Hockey.

A future Gopher is Ms. Hockey, and a state standout is Senior Goalie of the Year

Ayla Puppe of Northfield was the state's leading scorer with 61 goals and 110 points. Goaltender Grace Zhan propelled Hill-Murray to the Class 2A title game.
The Edina hornet mascot joined the Xcel Energy Center crowd Friday, when Edina advanced to the title game of the girls hockey state tournament.

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from the girls hockey championships

Discussed: Opting up holds no interest for 1A champ Warroad. Goalies were stories on both 2A finalists. Analysis of the much-pondered 2A seedings.
Edina's players savored the moment after they defeated Hill-Murray to win the Class 2A state championship.

Edina puts on a third-period show, wins Class 2A girls hockey title

The Hornets defeated Hill-Murray by bringing a sudden end to a stretch of scoreless dominance by goalies and defenses.
Edina forward Lorelai Nelson celebrated scoring on Minnetonka goalie Layla Hemp (1) in the second period. Edina and Minnetonka played in the State Cla

State title games set in girls hockey. Get the updates here.

Edina toppled Minnetonka in Class 2A, the last result of a day when both top seeds were eliminated. Traditional power Warroad sunk Class 1A No. 1 Holy Angels.
Andover players Olivia Nedved (40) and Sophia Menne smiled at some girls who came to watch them on the bench through the glass in the second period Fr

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from Day 3 of girls hockey

Edina toppled top seed Minnetonka after Warroad dropped 1A No. 1 Holy Angels. Hill-Murray's Grace Zhan and Dodge County's Ida Huber issued reminders of the importance of goalies.
Mr. Hockey finalists, from top left: Hagen Burrows, Javon Moore, Jackson Nevers, Carson Pilgrim, Nolan Roed, John Stout, Gavin Uhlenkamp, Noah Urness,

Looking for Mr. Hockey: The list of contenders is down to 10.

The award goes to the state's top senior boys skater. Three goaltenders remain in the competition for the Frank Brimsek.
Members of PWHL Minnesota attended the Class 2A tournament game between top-seeded Minnetonka and Maple Grove.

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from Day 2 of girls hockey

The state tournament draws a variety of fans to the Xcel Energy Center, including some from Minnesota's professional team.
Hill-Murray Pioneers forward Chloe Boreen (18) celebrated a second period goal against Roseau with teammate Sophie Olson (10) during a Class 2A Girls

Girls hockey Class 2A state quarterfinals. Get the results here.

Edina shut down Ayla Puppe and Northfield to join Minnetonka, Andover and Hill-Murray in Friday's semifinals. Tap here for game results, updates on games in progress, how to watch and more.
Willmar goalie Erin Eilers kept her eyes on the puck the third period Wednesday.

State Tourney Insiders: Sights and sounds from Day 1 in St. Paul

Orono, runner-up last season, and Dodge County, with a section final failure burning in memory, won first-round games, as did top seed Holy Angels and defending champ Warroad.
Anna Rausch, left, of Orono and Makayla Norsten of Willmar clashed for position in the first period Wednesday.

From the X: Girls hockey Class 1A quarterfinal results

The seeds held in the Class 1A quarterfinals. No. 1 Holy Angels, No. 2 Orono, No. 3 Dodge County and No. 4 Warroad advanced to the semifinals. Tap here for results, game updates and more.
The All-Metro girls hockey first team, from left: Grace Zhan of Hill-Murray, Mackenzie Jones of Andover, Josie St. Martin of Stillwater, Lindzi Avar o

3 teams, 19 players: Who's on the All-Metro girls hockey teams?

The Gophers landed one first-teamer; Ohio State landed two. Others on the Star Tribune's list are heading to schools around Minnesota, the Ivy League and elsewhere.
Metro Player of the Year Josie St. Martin led the Stillwater girls hockey team in points even though she missed time while helping the United States w

For school and country: Meet the girls hockey Metro Player of the Year

Josie St. Martin of Stillwater led her high school team in points and also propelled Team USA to Under-18 World Championships gold.
Hill-Murray defenseman Kasey Senden, left, and her teammates received the second seed in the Class 2A girls hockey state tournament.

Coaches see flaws as seeds are set for girls hockey state tournament

Spooky parallels to last year, among them that No. 1 must play the best of the unseeded teams again, led to questions.
In the middle of a predicted record breaking snowstorm, the girls state hockey tournament dropped the puck at Xcel Energy Center last February. Minnet

Minnetonka beats Holy Family 4-0 for sixth state berth in a row

The Skippers are expected to nab the No. 1 seed in next week's Class 2A girls hockey tournament.
Teammates celebrate with Hill-Murray forward Chloe Boreen (hidden) after scoring a goal against Stillwater in the first period of the Class 2A, Sectio

Hill-Murray girls hockey back at state after 5-2 section final victory over Stillwater

Senior forward Chloe Boreen scored the first and fifth goals for the Pioneers. In between were goals by players representing grades 8-10.
Hockey sticks stuck out of the snow at the Thoreson home.

Rosemount's girls hockey team beats Apple Valley to secure spot at state

Rosemount lived by its motto, 'Whatever it takes,' in a 6-1 triumph over Apple Valley in the Class 2A, Section 3 girls hockey final Wednesday night.
Kendall Hassler (97) leads Benilde-St. Margaret's in goals.

Girls hockey rankings foretell drama in section tournaments

Several include multiple top-10 teams in the bracket, indicating disappointment will be rampant.
Javon Moore (22), goalie Hunter Bauer and their Minnetonka teammates remain undefeated.

A look at the boys hockey rankings reveals a loud weekend clash ahead

It's No. 1 and undefeated Minnetonka against No. 2 Edina as the end of the regular season nears.
Chanhassen boys hockey coach Sean Bloomfield oversaw practice at the Victoria Recreation Center.

What did the coach learn about hockey on his 2,000-mile canoe trip? Everything.

Sean Bloomfield, these days leading Chanhassen's push for its first state tournament berth, is a canoeist with a 2,000-mile run to Hudson Bay on his résumé.
Wayzata’s Cade De St. Hubert controlled the puck against Minnetonka the last time the teams played. That one ended in a draw.

Important boys hockey ahead: No. 1 Minnetonka vs. No. 3 Wayzata

That's a highlight of a high-quality Thursday that also includes top-10 matchups that cross classes.
Hannah Halverson leads Edina in scoring with 21 goals and 21 assists.

Pace quickens, girls hockey rankings adjust as regular season nears end

Minnetonka is a stronger No. 1 in the big class, Edina is on the rise and no undefeated teams remain.
Warroad is not only host of Hockey Day Minnesota. It is the reigning Class 1A girls champion.

Breakfast at Hockey Day Minnesota: Two top-10 girls teams

Host Warroad and Lakeville North will start the annual event, followed by two boys games.
Against the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, players from Warroad and Minneapolis played a Hockey Day Minnesota game at Parade Stadium in 2020.

Hockey Day Minnesota host carries top ranking into game against top rival

Warroad will take on Roseau on Saturday as part of the annual event.
Chanhassen coach Sean Bloomfield is also the principal of the K-3 portion of Breakaway Academy, a private school for kindergarten through eighth grade

Hockey academy issue hovers over team trying for 1st state tournament

Breakaway Academy, a school with hockey in its roots and a hockey coach among its principals, produced nine players on the current Chanhassen High School roster.
At the Blue Mound Ice Arena, the Luverne hockey team has built a strong following and culture in the region.] rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com/ Richard

A scream for attention in the boys hockey state rankings goes unheard

At 13-0, Luverne was the last undefeated team in Class 1A, but it didn't crack the top 10, and then the Cardinals lost.
Section 1AA girls hockey championship at Owatonna. Lakeville North vs. Northfield, 2-16-23. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

Streaks show in girls hockey rankings, but one run stands out

Northfield is 19-0 and ranked fifth in Class 2A. Lakeville South and Centennial/Spring Lake Park also are into double figures.
Players listen as head coach Sean Bloomfield gives instructions on the practice in Victoria, Minn., on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. This is a story on Chanh

Dream chasers: A season on the rink with Chanhassen boys hockey

Reaching the hockey state tournament is the dream of every young skater in Minnesota. The Chanhassen boys have never been there, but this season the Storm have a shot. Our ongoing series will follow them the rest of the way.

A season with Chanhassen as the Storm chase the boys hockey state tournament

Reaching the hockey state tournament is the dream of every young skater in Minnesota. The Chanhassen boys have never been there, but this season the Storm have a shot. Our ongoing series will follow them the rest of the way.

Meet the boys hockey Dream Team and 15 others who battled for spots

The Dream Team includes a player committed to the Gophers, another headed to Minnesota Duluth and two who play for the No. 1-ranked big school in the state.

Former coach's wife is ill. Friends hope a U scholarship in her name will help.

The Friends of Barbara Halvorson Scholarship Fund is for nontraditional students. Gary Halvorson coached Woodbury from 1987-2000.
Minnetonka goalie Hunter Bauer (1) defends with the help of Javon Moore (22) at the Pagel Activity Center in Minnetonka, Minn., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2

Challenges loom for both No. 1s in the boys hockey state rankings

Minnetonka will face three top-15 teams before the new year, including No. 2 Wayzata. Five ranked foes are ahead for Hermantown.