Burke, Unger receive hockey honorsSomerset’s Jeff Burke was honored with all-state status for the second straight year when the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association (WHCA) All-State Team was announced over the weekend.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Somerset’s Jeff Burke was honored with all-state status for the second straight year when the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association (WHCA) All-State Team was announced over the weekend.
New Richmond assistant hockey coach Ryan Unger also was honored over the weekend. Unger was named as the WHCA District 1 Assistant Coach of the Year.
Burke was selected as an honorable mention all-state defenseman. He is the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer among defensemen, with 79 points. He had 31 goals and 48 assists in his career.
Burke’s best season was his junior year. He finished this season with seven goals and 16 assists. He battled through a severe case of the flu, a separated shoulder and a deep thigh bruise during the season.
“That shows the kind of kid he is, he’ll fight through injuries and adversity,” said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson.
Burke is ready to take his hockey career to the next level. He has been a member of Team Wisconsin, and will start the spring season for Team Wisconsin this weekend.
He also has agreed to play with the Topeka Roadrunners of the North American Hockey League. Those plans could change, if a team from the United States Hockey League (USHL) drafts him during the league’s spring draft.
Unger was honored for being a part of the New Richmond hockey program since 1993.
Unger became friends with New Richmond varsity coach Adam Swanda when they played college hockey together at UW-River Falls. They began working with youth teams together and Unger joined Swanda’s varsity coach staff during the 1997 season.
Swanda said Unger is more of an “associate coach” because of all he does in the Tiger program. During games the duties are split, with Swanda taking the forwards and Unger managing the defensemen and goalies.
Unger brings a strong hockey background to the program. He was a Minnesota state high school champion at Greenway of Coleraine and he played on a national championship team at UW-River Falls.
“It’s an opportunity to help kids, that’s why I coach,” Unger said.