January 2007 High School Athlete of the Month: Michael Fink
“He has the natural ability and dedication to become a future division one hockey player.”
– Head Coach Chad Nyberg
School: Hopkins High School
Team: Varsity Hockey
Position: Center, first line
When high school athletes first grace the floor in a Varsity uniform, most hope that his or her debut goes down in history with little embarrassment—and what the heck, if a few positive stats are earned while at it, that's even better. Michael Fink, a sophomore at Hopkins High School, landed nowhere in this realm though. If fact, he landed way outside.
After five seconds of his first Varsity hockey match he scored a goal. By the end of the game, he garnered a total of five goals and two assists. Needless to say, it was quite the start to his high school career.
“He is a hardworking and unassuming kid,” says Head Coach Chad Nyberg. “You’d never know that he is one of the best hockey players for his age in the state because he isn’t arrogant or full of himself.”
That doesn’t mean the Minnetonka native hasn’t felt a little pressure, though.
“I think this year we have pretty high expectations. I think a lot of people were waiting for me to get to the high school level, and they are expecting a lot from me, personally.”
In the past few years, Hopkins hasn’t always been a hockey powerhouse in the Classic Lake conference, Mike says. But he and his teammates hope to change that.
“This group we have now is great. We all come to the rink everyday and are ready to work. We are an encouraging group that is in every game to win it.”
With a 6-1 start to the season in late December, Mike and his 33 teammates on Varsity and JV have proved just that.
“This is the best start for a Hopkins boys hockey team in the past 20 years and Michael is a major reason for the success of the team,” says Dan Johnson, the district director of athletics for Hopkins public schools.
In that 6-1 span, Mike recorded 11 goals and eight assists for a total of 19 points.
“He makes things happen every time he is on the ice and he makes his surrounding linemates better as well,” Coach Nyberg says.
In his third season coaching Hopkins boys’ hockey, Nyberg can speak for his players when he says Mike is ultra competitive and highly skilled, plus personable and genuine.
“He is just one of the guys and that’s what makes him a good teammate and friend.”
Photo by Michelle Groom
“Any time you put on a jersey with USA on the front you get chills.”
Next, Mike wants to wow the Hopkins crowd and he thinks the team has the potential to do it.
“We are a good team that only gets better. Once we get some more experience playing with one another, we could be a very dangerous team to play in playoffs.”
This competitive athlete may have his sights on victory, but he’s able to keep things light, too. Asked about his experience so far as a high schooler at Hopkins and he lists seeing his friends in older grades and lunch — ‘they have the best food’— as the highlights. And amidst his 6-days-a-week practice and game schedule, Mike’s bound to be spotted playing pond hockey with his friends, too.
“He has the natural ability and dedication to become a future division one hockey player,” Coach Nyberg says.
Only time – and a few more performances like his Varsity debut – will truly tell.