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First Mohawk hockey championship team receives banner
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First Mohawk hockey championship team receives banner

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When you walked into the North Iowa Ice Arena, it was hard to miss all of the championship banners from various teams hanging from the rafters of "The Barn" showing North Iowa's affinity for hockey.

However, one team's accomplishment had gone by the wayside ever since The Barn opened in 1983.

78-79 Mohawk hockey championship team

Top Row; Randy Pierce, Todd Fitzgerald, Steve Kritenbrink, Tom Mackin, Dave Wilson, Steve Nielsen, John Lofing, Scott Huff. Middle row; Head Coach John Pete, Jim McKinnon, John Brandt, John Burnett, Jeff Lees, Jim Nielsen, Dave Herlizka,  Assistant Coach Tony Brown. Bottom Row, Pat Denny, Jay Bloomfield, Mike Duda, Jack Odegaard, Brad Nielsen.

During the 1978-79 season, the Mason City Mohawk hockey team brought home its first state championship. But, in those days, the Mohawks didn't have a home venue and played most games outdoors, unless they were on the road.

By the time the Mohawks moved into their new home at The Barn years later, the idea of hanging a banner to signify the team's feat was largely forgotten. 

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On Saturday, over 40 years later, Jon Pete, son of the 1978-79 team's coach, John Pete, organized a reunion of players from the championship team and presented them with a banner prior to the Mohawk's varsity game at the North Iowa Multi Purpose Arena.

Jon said he came up with the idea last summer when he saw a few of the former players.

"I thought, boy, they never get together and they've never gotten a banner. There's never been any recognition," Jon said.

One by one, Iowa Rep. Sharon Steckman named off the championship roster as the teammates, or family members representing those that couldn't attend, stepped onto the ice together to receive the banner.

Included on the team was Pat Denny, who was the first female to play on a high school hockey team in Iowa. Being the first and only female at the time, the team had to make a plea to the Iowa State Legislature to allow her to compete in the state championships. 

"It was just very cool to have everybody together," Jon said. "I was really nice to bring as much of the group as we could back together to celebrate their accomplishments and talk about some of the old times we had an outdoor rink."

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