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Prep boys hockey: Grand Rapids’ Avery Peterson adds national award to collection

Avery Peterson is running out of room to store his burgeoning collection of postseason hockey awards. Peterson, the outgoing Grand Rapids phenom, added another accolade Thursday -- and this one goes beyond city, regional and even state boundaries...

Grand Rapids' Avery Peterson
Grand Rapids’ Avery Peterson (left) and Duluth East’s Phil Beaulieu compete for the puck during a game this past season in Grand Rapids. Peterson added to his growing collection of awards on Thursday after being named the USA Today’s All-USA Hockey Player of the Year. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com
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Avery Peterson is running out of room to store his burgeoning collection of postseason hockey awards.
Peterson, the outgoing Grand Rapids phenom, added another accolade Thursday - and this one goes beyond city, regional and even state boundaries. The senior forward was named USA Today’s All-USA Hockey Player of the Year.
The inaugural award, compiled based on information from various state coaches associations and the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., was announced in conjunction with three All-USA teams. Peterson headlined the first team, along with fellow Minnesotans Luc Snuggerud of Eden Prairie - like Peterson, a Nebraska-Omaha commit - and Edina’s Andrew Rohkohl.
“It’s cool to get an award like this - it just shows how highly we’re thought of for high school hockey,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s powerful shot produced 37 goals for the Thunderhawks this past season, and the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder added 30 assists while capping his prep career with a program-record 203 points.
He’s collected nearly as many awards.
The day after the Minnesota high school boys hockey tournament, Peterson became just the second Mr. Hockey winner in Grand Rapids’ history. Eventually, he added Associated Press All-State and News Tribune All-Area player of the year honors.
And those were just the biggies.
Nonetheless, Peterson didn’t play hockey to win awards; the rink rat played the sport because he loved it - and because that’s what youngsters in Grand Rapids do.
“It’s not about the awards that you get,” he said. “I love every minute of it.”
His high school coach, John Rothstein, recalled Hockey Day Minnesota 2013, when the Thunderhawks hosted. Rothstein had come across a photo of Peterson wearing an effervescent ear-to-ear smile that day on Pokegama Lake.
“I showed that to him this year and he said, ‘That’s what it’s about,’ ” Rothstein said recently. “He loves to play, and that’s what high school hockey was for him.”
Peterson, a sixth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild last summer, is playing in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers, who end the regular season Saturday. He expects to start his college career at Omaha next fall.
Of the 18 players on the three USA Today teams, nine were Minnesotans.

Avery Peterson
Avery Peterson

Related Topics: GRAND RAPIDSHOCKEY
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