Richfield High School Class of 1971
Outdoor skating rinks were filled with eager young hockey enthusiasts dreaming of representing Richfield in high school hockey – and their dreams came true as the Spartans went on to compete six times in the old one-class state tournament!
Richfield has changed since then; now, its population is older and more diverse, while youth hockey costs can easily exceed $5,000 annually.
Class of 1971
Richfield was one of those communities, offering returning soldiers an attractive way to spend their GI bill money on starter homes in new suburban communities that had recently emerged, like dandelions on newly tilled farmland. Richfield stood out as being well-planned, with parks, playgrounds, solid schools, and an emphasis on youth sports participation.
City officials erected 19 outdoor rinks, maintained 13 warming houses, and regularly hosted more than 200 players, from mites to bantams. But that era came to an end as high school enrollment declined and parents sent their kids away to first-ring suburban schools or Holy Angels private Catholic academy, where the hockey price tag quickly increased while participation decreased significantly.
Richfield’s hockey program began to decline slowly over time, culminating with its final season last year when there weren’t enough skaters available for a team. Boie hopes he can find a co-op partner next season, but this remains uncertain; Jefferson and Holy Angels may not welcome losing tuition-paying kids for poorer kids like those found at Richfield.
Darby Hendrickson scored the game-winning goal against Eden Prairie during Richfield’s last state tournament appearance in 1991 and lamented that there wasn’t anything that could have been done to keep its program alive. Growing up skating at Richfield’s outdoor rinks, it had always been his childhood dream to play for the Spartans; unfortunately, gear, travel costs, and ice time rentals are too costly for most families. Hendrickson notes that Richfield wasn’t alone when it comes to declining participation rates; first-ring suburbs around Minneapolis, as well as second-ring schools such as Bloomington and Burnsville, all share similar concerns over the future of youth hockey programs.
George D West of Richfield Springs Class of 1971 died peacefully on Friday, August 17th, 2017, at his residence. George had long resided in this region as both a farmer and railroad worker, providing comforting help and friendship to many around him. His children and grandchildren survive George.
Richfield is home to outdoor rinks, which were once bustling with local youngsters hoping to one day become Spartans players themselves – an aspiration which resulted in six appearances at a one-class state tournament, including an appearance in 1976’s championship game! However, most rinks now stand mostly empty, with Richfield opting not to field a boys’ team this year.
Richfield has seen an exponential rise in diversity that is making it increasingly challenging to fulfill childhood hockey dreams. This issue has become an integral component of youth hockey board meetings where parents discuss the growing cost of buying equipment and travel costs for their kids.
Richfield school officials had long depended on some of its wealthier residents to subsidize the cost of hockey through purchases and leasing equipment, but those resources have quickly depleted over time. Boie and Shute concurred that without finding a co-op partner next year, Richfield Boys hockey may disband altogether. Such partnerships would allow scholarships for Jefferson or Bloomington skaters who want to represent Richfield; unfortunately,, those schools may not be willing to cut tuition payments for skaters in order to help out Richfield boys’ hockey.
At the height of Baby Boomer’s enthusiasm for hockey, Richfield filled its outdoor skating rinks with children dreaming of one day playing for the Spartans of Richfield – many would go on to become first-year Richfield High School athletic director Dave Boie and later dedicated hockey coaches themselves!
Boie and second-year coach Dave Shute, both former Richfield players themselves, had high hopes that the current crop of youngsters could rejuvenate the program. Unfortunately, winter drills proved otherwise; by the season’s start, with 19 players on the roster (seventeen when the summer league ended), only 10 were left playing on a team.
Reasons are clear for Richfield’s decline: its population has become much more diverse since the mid-1990s, and a more significant proportion of children live below the poverty line. Furthermore, ice hockey can be expensive. Most kids who want to participate must purchase their equipment and often join travel teams, which imposes an additional expense burden on parents.
Demaray was best known as the head wrestling coach at Apple Valley High School. Under his leadership, Apple Valley’s wrestling teams won six Minnesota State team titles and produced four college National champions. In addition, he served as an assistant football coach at both Apple Valley and Richfield, in addition to serving as an official for both programs. Demaray earned both his Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University and Master of Science Athletic Administration degrees from the University of St Thomas. Those left to mourn him include his wife, Cindy; two daughters, Debra Laveck and Teresa Suhocki; son, Jason; three grandsons, Zach Dylan Jaxon. As well as five great-grandchildren. A funeral service will be held Saturday afternoon at Lakeview Funeral Home Richfield Springs at 2 PM.
Richfield Springs was one such community established following World War II by returning soldiers using the GI Bill to purchase starter homes and build communities geared toward family fun and enjoyment. Richfield Springs stood out with its active public school system, many parks and playgrounds, and a strong economy, not to mention its famous hockey program, which made six appearances at a one-class, eight-team state tournament, including its final game appearance in 1976.
Richfield Springs’ hockey program came to an end this season due to a lack of players. An initial meeting between first-year coach David Boie, second-year coach Dave Shute, and team members confirmed this decision; therefore, it appears unlikely the program will return.
Boie says he plans on looking into youth co-ops for next year, though options are likely limited by local school systems’ unwillingness to partner with Kennedy and Holy Angels’ unwillingness to sacrifice tuition-paying students in favor of admitting Richfield Springs players.
The class treasurer oversees all financial affairs of her class and keeps records of monies received and expended, as well as filing tax forms annually for filing purposes. Furthermore, the treasurer serves as an ex-officio member of RHS Foundation board. Richfield High School has an active Scholarship Board that awards scholarships to graduating seniors and provides financial support for programs at Richfield. The class treasurer plays an essential part in ensuring its success and should not be taken for granted as part of your class membership. Russ Schuveiller was one of the founding members of this class and passed away in 2014. To honor his memory, this scholarship fund offers two awards in his name to male and female students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, and community service.
Class Vice President
George was born January 26th, 1953, and attended Richfield Springs High School before enlisting with the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman on September 1, 1971, and serving for six years before being honorably discharged June 1st, 1977, with rank HM2. Carole was his life-long companion. Aside from golf, he enjoyed hunting and fishing. Additionally, he was active with American Legion events and community activities. George West is survived by his wife Carole, sons Mark and Christopher West, daughter Heather West, and two grandchildren. In addition, he leaves behind his sister Debra Laveck of Richfield Springs, along with brothers Robert West (of Richfield Springs) and William West (also of Richfield Springs), along with several nieces and nephews.
Richfield’s hockey program had long been in trouble. Former athletic director Todd Olson identified early warning signs in 2000 when the youth hockey co-op between Richfield and Washburn only lasted one season, mite numbers declined significantly, and players left Richfield to attend higher-performing hockey high schools elsewhere.
Richfield’s outdoor skating rinks were once bustling with young hopefuls dreaming of joining the Spartans, but their fate was sealed during a Nov. 19 meeting between Boie, second-year coach Dave Shute (a former Richfield player himself), team members, parents, and coach Darby Hendrickson of 1976 Spartans Darby Hendrickson who now coaches Kennedy believes something could have been done but demographic shifts had altered first and second-ring suburbs like Roosevelt, Southwest and Washburn over time — changes which could not have been altered – though.