The Steele County Blades junior hockey team is over a month into its sixth season of existence. While the team has its fair share of Minnesotans on the roster, players from around the country and world come to Owatonna to play for the team.

Defense man Zak Von Ruden is from Northfield and is in his second year in the United State Premier Hockey League. He played for the River Falls Renegades last winter. The Blades beat them in playoffs last winter, and Von Ruden had the chance to join Steele County for this season. He says good players can come from anywhere, but he likes to think Minnesota is still tops at producing hockey players. Von Ruden says the team spends plenty of time together to develop friendships and team chemistry.

Defense man Justin Movalli is back with the Blades this season after he had a memorable season that included that first-round playoff victory. In his final year of junior hockey eligibility, he hopes the team advances even further in the postseason. Movalli is originally from Massachusetts, but started playing hockey when his family moved to Texas. He has also played in Kansas City, Connecticut and Canada. He hopes to play college hockey out east.


Steele County has players from Mexico, Finland and about 12 different states, including Alaska.

The Blades hold a home-and-home weekend with the Minnesota Blue Ox, starting Friday October 27 at 7:30PM at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Saturday the teams will clash at 7PM at the Coon Rapids Ice Arena.