by Dennis Dalman
Sartell hockey – and a highly rated school system – were the clinchers when the Chris and Kristen Sigurdson family decided to move to the city five years ago.
The Sigurdsons and their four sons attended the Oct. 5 celebration of the Bernick’s Arena’s 10th birthday. (See related story.) All of the Sigurdson boys play as members of the Youth Hockey Association. They are Colten, 13; Talon, 11; Quentin, 10; and Easton, 5.
About six years ago, the Sigurdsons were with their sons at a hockey camp when someone there from Sartell mentioned they should think about moving to Sartell because of its thriving hockey program and its excellent school system. At that time, the Sigurdsons didn’t know really anything about Sartell.
A year or so later, much to their delight, they found themselves living here, having moved from northwest Iowa. Besides hockey, another clincher was when Kristen was putting out feelers for a job in another city, she discovered there was an opening for a foot-and-ankle surgeon at St. Cloud Orthopedics in Sartell’s Medical Campus. She applied and got the job.
Chris is general manager for Minnesota Select Sires, a cattle genetics cooperative. He was born in Maple Grove and grew up on a farm near Isanti. For the past 20 years, he and his family had lived in many different states. They are relieved and happy to be settled down in Sartell. The education system and the hockey program are both “fantastic,” Chris said.
For three years, Chris served on the Sartell Youth Hockey Association Board, as its president for one of those years. He said he has been amazed by the commitment and generosity to youth hockey in the Sartell and St. Cloud areas. Parents, he said, are willing to pay quite a bit to have their children play hockey, and sponsors both small and large are exceedingly generous, Chris added.
“So much has been accomplished in the past 10 years,” he said. “What’s very unique is the Youth Hockey Association owns the arena, and that puts an additional burden on families for the costs to participate, but those families are willing to accept that for hockey and for all the other attributes in the city.”
Sigurdson credits Michael Hornung, Sartell businessman, for spearheading the effort to get a new Zamboni.
“We have tremendous sponsors and help from hockey players, their families and all the events that raised money for it (the Zamboni),” Chris said. “One doesn’t get a Zamboni or an arena without a lot of people working together. Besides the sponsors, there was all the volunteering – people managing teams, coaches, all the hockey parents who work so hard. They even staff the events, like the annual rock concert at the arena. The kids always help out too.”
Hockey, Chris said, is one way to teach children the value of hard work and teamwork.
“We have to teach this generation of children how to work,” he said. “We live in town. I have four boys. Academics come first, and my boys have to learn to fail as well as succeed.”
Chris said hockey and other sports, along with school and hard work, are what he believes are the excellent inter-related ways children can learn life skills.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.