Athlete of the week: Jack Geissler, Elk River, hockey: Rear guard

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Jack Geissler’s name doesn’t appear on the stat sheets often. It’s more his job to keep other people from getting stats.“Yeah, that’s about right,” said the Elk River-Zimmerman defenseman acknowledged with a chuckle.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior has fulfilled that role solidly in two seasons for the Elks.
“Jack is a real steady role player,” said coach Gordie Roberts. “Every team needs a good defensive player like Jack who is strong and consistent and hard nosed, and can block shots and kill penalties.”
Geissler put in the time, Roberts pointed out.

Jack Geissler put in the time to become a reliable defenseman, said his coach. (The Edge photo)
Jack Geissler put in the time to become a reliable defenseman, said his coach. (The Edge photo)

“He has made himself into a solid defenseman in the two years I’ve  been here. He works hard off the ice and is one of my most improved players. He could play some juniors and has a chance to play college hockey.”
Elk goalie MacLean Berglove seconded the coach’s assessment of Geissler’s consistency and strength, adding, “I know I can count on Jack every single game.”
Geissler, asked to describe his duties, broke it down like this: “You break out the puck, make good passes, clear the front of the net. You ‘body’ people. And don’t let them score.”
Last Saturday, Geissler helped the Elks survive long stretch (three minutes, nine seconds) of 3-on-5 penalty kill in a 5-2 win over Forest Lake. For such a daunting task, he said, “You keep your head on a swivel.”
There are defenders who score, too, but he’s more the stay-at-home, Rear Guard type. This year, he’s got two assists and no goals. He did notch a goal last year, against Blaine, with a shot from the point. “I was going for a tip, but it wound up going in the net,” he recalled.
Geissler follows two older sisters, Callie (defenseman) and Samantha (goalie), who were all-conference pucksters and played in two and three state tournaments, respectively.
“I saw as many of their games as I could,” he said. “I was playing a lot myself, too, and I went to a lot of boys games.”
It was actually their older cousins, Matt, Carl and Dirk Foss, who skated for strong Elk teams, that inspired the Geisslers to lace up.
“We all started playing hockey after them,” Jack said. “My sisters and I all started at about the same time.”
Geissler also played football and soccer before settling on hockey.
Coming up through the ranks, Geissler played in state tournaments in B-1 PeeWees, B-1 Bantams and ‘A’ Bantams. Suddenly it’s their last year together with their greatest opportunity in front of them, pursuing a high school state tournament.
“I feel we can get it done of we keep working hard,” Geissler said. “Ever since ‘A’ Bantams in ninth grade, we’ve been talking about our senior year. But it goes  by too fast.”

geissler2Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents Donna and Tom, stepmother Jen, stepfather Tad; sisters Kallie, Samantha, and Lily; brother Ryan … Sport: hockey …. Academics: 2.7 GPA … Next year: hopes to play juniors, eventually play in college, major in engineering
Favorite stuff — Class: CAD (drafting), math … TV show: “Duck Dynasty” … Movies: “Blades of Glory” and “Happy Gilmore” … Food: Olive Garden fare especially soup, pasta, breadsticks … Drink: Gatorade Frost … Team: Wild … Athlete: Alex Ovechkin … Hobby: dirt bikes