Fresh off national championship, Denver East captain Hasse moving on to USPHL’s Kernels
Connor Hasse had the season many hockey players dream about in 2021-22.
Wearing the ‘C’ for Denver East High School, Hasse and his teammates won both a state championship and a national championship this past year, capping an incredible run for the team.
Recently, the Denver native earned an opportunity to advance his career by signing to play junior hockey for the expansion Battle Creek Kernels of the USPHL.
“What appealed to me about Battle Creek was, first, the location (Battle Creek, Mich.),” Hasse said. “I have lots of friends and family that live by Battle Creek. The second thing that appealed to me was the coach Triston Jensen and how right away he said his goal for all his players was to move on to Tier II and be on his team for as short a time as possible. Coming to the USPHL, I know that the league sends a lot of guys to college, but I think what was more appealing is the amount of guys that move on to Tier II from the USPHL.
“I am very excited to be leaving home, and I’m excited to be playing hockey every day.”
This past season with the Angels was one that Hasse will never forget.
“It definitely has sunk in, and I think that it all really sat in even the night after the state championship, just winning that felt like a lot, but after nationals at the very end of the season, I think it really sat in once we landed back in Denver from Dallas,” said Hasse. “Last season prepared me very well for juniors. We played a lot of high skill level games and tournaments throughout the year. I also think the drive of the team and coaches to get better every day really made me a better player and got me ready for juniors.”
Prior to Denver East, Hasse played his entire youth hockey career for the Denver Jr. Pioneers and said his game started to blossom once he came to Denver East four years ago.
“I would say all three of my high school coaches stand out as positive influences,” said Hasse. “All three of them, (John) Kopperud, (Jeremiah) Buckley, and (Ben) Robinson, are very good coaches and want the best for every player and will work for all of them. They have not only helped me become a much better hockey player but also a better person.”
His Battle Creek deal in place, Hasse can now start to focus on the future.
“My short-term goals for hockey are to make a Tier II team this offseason, and my long-term goals are to play NCAA Division I college hockey,” Hasse said. “For school and life, I plan to go to college to play hockey and after that, if I’m lucky enough, play pro hockey. Otherwise, I definitely want to coach when I’m young and help young guys make their hockey dreams come true.”
Photo provided by Connor Hasse
— Matt Mackinder
(June 15, 2022)