Hockey: Elks top Anoka 6-1 after tribute to McLaughlin

Anoka (left) and Elk River (in circle) players were in formation for a tribute to the late Jon McLaughlin prior to the game. (Photo by Bob Burley)

Elk River and Anoka hockey teams paid tribute to a man who impacted hockey in both communities Saturday evening, after which the Elks defeated the Tornadoes 6-1 at Elk River Arena.

Jon McLaughlin, who passed away unexpectedly last summer, was president of Elk River’s Blue Line Club and before that Youth Hockey. In his native Anoka, he and his parents were active in youth hockey, and his brother Pete is currently an assistant coach there.

Adam Watzke (15) got inside Anoka's Tony Niederhaus (26) to put the puck past Tornado goalie Jeff Ramstad. (Photo by Bob Burley)

Two of Jon’s three children are playing varsity hockey for the Elks — Jared, a junior on the boys team, and Jordan, an eighth-grader on the girls team.

Elk co-captain Mike Katchmark read a tribute and thank-you message to Jon McLaughlin for his dedication to hockey and kids. His three  children were all on the ice, and two of his nieces sang the national anthem.

McLaughlin’s memory was similarly honored when the Elks played at Anoka on Dec. 4.

The Elks (6-4 conference, 8-9 overall), who won the Dec. 4 game on an overtime goal by none other than Jared McLaughlin, cruised to the victory this time.

Katchmark scored twice on power plays and assisted on another goal.  Andrew Zerban also made two goals, one of them a power play. The Elks were 4-for-6 on power plays with Ryan Jaremko notching the other one. Adam Watzke scored his first varsity goal for the Elks.

Anders Franke knocked aside a shot from Anoka's Luke Okejnicak (19). (Photo by Bob Burley)

Robby Pullar, Jaremko and Nick McCormack each made two assists, and Matt Eilertson, Ryan Heid, and Garrett Aldrich made one each.

Elk goalie Anders Franke stopped 24 of 25 shots, with Connor Iverson scoring the lone goal for Anoka (3-9 conference, 6-11 overall). Anoka’s Jeff Ramstad gave up six goals on 26  shots.

The Elks will play at Centennial on Thursday.

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