Owatonna High School's Tanner Stendel says the decision came fairly easily. He passed up his senior year of high school football to play junior hockey with the Steele County Blades. He will skate for the Huskies when that season starts and put his Blades sweater back on after the prep season.

"So for me it was kind of an easy decision once the offer was made," Stendel says, "At first I'd been contemplating it, thinking about pursuing a hockey career, like a higher-end level one. And then I came into a showcase in Madison and coach (Nick) Adamek asked me if I'd be willing to play before-and-after [the high school season] it was an instant, 'Yes,' and out the door went football."

He says it was tough initially transitioning to junior hockey, but he's getting up to speed, "As I've gotten to know the guys, I think it's gotten easier for me to go out there and play and just have fun." Hear the full interview with Stendel by clicking below.

Blades player Tanner Stendel

Brady Nance (Bakersfield, CA) is back with the Blades this season. Getting out of California, a COVID hotspot, was a good move a year ago, "Coming to Minnesota was probably my best decision all year." He says the Blades were initially looking at recruiting his brother. Hear the full story.

Blades player Brady Nance

Listen to previous player profiles.

  • Brady Rossbach (New Berlin, WI) and Jackson Blough (St. Joseph, MI) chat in the days leading up to the home opener. Check out story here.
  • Matthew Ebersole (Milwaukee, WI) and Elliot Wrigley (Littleton, CO) shared thoughts as the season was about to get underway. Hear the interviews here.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16: BLADES 3, HUDSON 2, SHOOTOUT

Steele County came back from a 2-0 deficit and won a seven-round shootout over the Havoc. Seva Bannikov (Minsk, Belarus) scored midway through the second period. Rossbach squared the game at 2-2 late in the second. Ryan Kerr (Redford, MI) ended the long shootout with the game winner.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17: MINNESOTA MOOSE 3, BLADES 2, SHOOTOUT

For the second straight game the came from behind to force overtime, and ultimately, a second consecutive shootout. Evan Axell (Plymouth, MN) opened the scoring halfway through the second period. The Moose scored two straight to take a 2-1 advantage into the third. With an extra attacker, Steele County tied the game on Connor Movalli's (Boston, MA) goal with 26 seconds left. The Blades were awarded a penalty shot in overtime. But Moose netminder Joey Gag (New Ulm, MN) stopped the attempt. Noah Bradburn (Ann Arbor, MI) notched the shootout winner. He also scored in regulation.

Steele County hosts games throughout MEA Weekend at Four Seasons Centre:

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