Caleb Schroer opened the season with four points in Wisconsin Rapids’ 8-2 win over Whitefish Bay/Nicolet/Shorewood in late November.
That was just a sign of things to come in what was an epic season for the Raiders’ senior forward.
Schroer registered a point in every one of Rapids’ 25 games, and had at least four points in 15 games to head a high-powered Wisconsin Rapids attack that averaged more than six goals per game this season. The Raiders jumped out to an 11-0 start this year, a run in which Schroer totaled 44 points.
For his accomplishments, Schroer — who became Rapids’ all-time leading scorer this season — has been selected as the Gannett Central Wisconsin Media’s boys hockey player of the year.
He finished with 47 goals and 96 points, as the Raiders shared the Wisconsin Valley Conference championship with Wausau West, and was the conference player of the year, as well as one of the eight Mr. Hockey finalist.
“I would have liked it a lot more if we had the team at state and it not just being me,” said Schroer of the Mr. Hockey ceremony in March on the eve of the WIAA state high school boys hockey tournament in Madison. “But, that was a big honor. It was just nice to see the work during my entire life kind of paying off in the end. I had great teammates, and obviously great linemates, and without them none of that would have happened.
“I can’t give (the credit) to myself, it was definitely them that helped me get there. It could have been any one of us.”
Wausau West’s Pete Susens is the top coach, as he led the Warriors to the state quarterfinals in what turned out to be his final season. Susens announced earlier this month that he was retiring after a 36-year career, in which the Warriors made 14 state tournament appearances overall, including the program’s lone championship in 2011.
Schroer is joined on the first team by Rapids’ defenseman Casey Esselman and forward Matt Edwards. Wausau West also had three first-team selections: goalie Sam Wiegert, defenseman Adam Parsells and forward Kevin Conley.
Schroer, listed at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, led the WVC in scoring as a junior and was fourth overall in his sophomore campaign. To improve his game further, Schroer had a weight-lifting regimen this summer — working out with a few of his teammates three to four days a week in preparation for the season.
“I came in (to the start of the season) and I could tell I was faster and had a little more muscle. I wasn’t getting pushed around as much as the years before,” Schroer said. “That was very important.”
Schroer, Edwards and Luc Kreuser formed a potent first line for the Raiders that combined for 95 goals and 114 assists in the 23-game regular season.
“The three of us are extremely close, we’ve been playing together for so long,” said Schroer, who tendered with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, a Junior A team, in January. “We know each other extremely well and just have great chemistry (on the ice). We have played together since we were in Mites. All three of us pushed each other and did whatever we could to make the team better.