What feels like a normal hockey season, is actually far from it for the Monroe boys co-op. They are on the ice and playing games, but with a different approach.
Monroe is playing a club hockey season this winter. This was a popular option for many teams across the state. Many of those teams have transitioned back to the WIAA season, Monroe has decided to stay a club team for this winter.
"With all of the hurdles that had to be done to get the season underway and the route we took with our kids and not playing WIAA this year," said Barry Einbeck, Monroe's head coach. He's normally their high school coach, but can't be their coach for a club season.
The Monroe co-op has nine players on their roster from Illinois. Because, they are a club team this season, the players from Illinois are able to cross the state line, and play despite Covid restrictions with the WIAA and state governments.
Monroe has decided to stay a club team this winter so all of their teammates can play.
"We went with the club hockey route because it's easier," said Blaze Janecke, a sophomore from Warren, IL. "Obviously there is more restrictions down in Illinois with Corona."
"It was nice knowing my teammates didn't want to play without the Illinois kids. That was awesome because that means I can play," said Hayden Roth, a senior from Orangeville, IL. "If you wanted to just go high school, we wouldn't be able to play."
Being a club team comes with a catch. They can't compete in the WIAA postseason or for a state title.
"With that gone, I guess the incentive isn't there," said Cade Janecke, a senior from Orangeville, IL. "But, you have to do it for the love of the game, over than what the end is."
Monroe is having one of their best seasons in program history. They also have a ton of home games this season due to being outside of Dane County. Many Madison area schools go to Monroe to get games in.
The Cheesemakers are scheduled to play about 26 of their 28 games this season on their home ice.