Senior phenom Noah Cates and his buddy TJ Sagissor
Welcome to the latest installment of Meme, Myself, and I, where Game On! Minnesota asks the top players in the State to make some Internet memes that best represent their approach on and off the ice. This time we caught up with Stillwater Senior forward Noah Cates. One of the top players in the state, Cates is committed to Minnesota Duluth and will play for Omaha in the USHL next season. There’s also a chance you may have seen Mr. Cates “little turn on the catwalk,” because it was his spin-o-rama goal in the Section championship game that sent the Ponies to the state tournament last year.
Game On! Minnesota: So, you scored that amazing goal in the Section Final. I’m sure you’ve been asked about it endlessly. Did anyone ever name it? Like the Pony Pirouette?
Noah Cates: No, but that’s pretty good.
Game On! Minnesota: This is a big year for the Stillwater Ponies. Playing outside on Hockey Day in Minnesota, and you’re one of the top teams in the state. What’s 2016-17 all about for you?
Noah Cates: Just some closure with the guys I’ve grown up playing hockey with. It’s a chance to go out on top, and end the way we want to end. It’s a chance to write our own story.
Game On! Minnesota: How many of the guys on this year’s Stillwater team did you grow up playing with, and what were some of the memories along the way?
Noah Cates: I’d say eight to ten guys on the team. I remember hotels when I was younger, especially up in Duluth. And when we got older, Applebee’s, we’d hang out there. We’d also skate together outside in Jack Mapstone’s backyard.
Game On! Minnesota: I see this picture of you when you were younger with a big lump on your forehead. What’s the story there?
Noah Cates: That’s from a few years ago in Bantams, one of my favorite seasons. We played a lot of sewer ball, where you try to keep the soccer ball in the air. The games used to get pretty heated. I actually didn’t get the mark on my forehead from the ball; it was from a teammate (Thomas Bruchu) trying to swat the ball, and he nailed me.
Game On! Minnesota: Your name is Noah. If you had an Ark, obviously you’d bring two ponies with you, but are there any animals you wouldn’t allow on your version of Noah’s Ark?
Noah Cates: No White Bears would make the trip.
Game On! Minnesota: So, you’re saying you’d eliminate White Bears from the planet?
Noah Cates: Yep.
Game On! Minnesota: Any other animals you’d leave off the boat?
Noah Cates: Thunderhawks. I don’t like them much.
Game On! Minnesota: You made it to the tourney last year, but you decided to stay in high school for your senior season. A few months in, how do you feel about that decision?
Noah Cates: I think it’s good for my development, and to get some closure as a hockey player and a person.
Game On! Minnesota: Stillwater’s mascot is a pony. That’s what every girl wants for Christmas. And there’s the cartoon show My Little Pony. Do you ever wish you were the Stillwater Stallions instead?
Noah Cates: I’m pretty sure it was Stallions and they changed it to Ponies.
Game On! Minnesota: You’ve included a photo of you and a youth player; tell me what’s happening here?
Noah Cates: To me this is high school hockey in a picture. It’s why we play. To become who these kids look up to as a role model, and to be that guy. This photo was from last year after the State Tournament and our Skate With the Ponies event, where all of our fans who support us all year come out and skate with the team.
Game On! Minnesota: Skate with the Stallions would sound so much better.
Noah Cates: [Silence]
Game On! Minnesota: You’ve got a nice shot of the team before a game where you’ve put the goal lamp emoji; what’s that one about?
Noah Cates: That’s our pregame warmup. We all surround the net and play it out until someone scores. When someone buries it, we all skate out of the zone together and everyone cheers.
Game On! Minnesota: What is the team listening to these days; what’s on the playlist?
Noah Cates: Some of the guys are into the classics, oldies like “Celebration” and “Good Vibrations.” Other guys prefer newer stuff and more modern rap.
Game On! Minnesota: Do you have any superstitions on game day?
Noah Cates: Nothing.
Game On! Minnesota: Anyone on the current Ponies roster that has a chance to make the All Hockey Hair Team?
Noah Cates: T.J. Sagissor. I’d describe his look as a scrappy or wannabe mullet. The back is super long, but the front was getting in his eyes so he cut it himself, and we give him a hard time about it.
Game On! Minnesota: So he has bangs?
Noah Cates: Yes.
Game On! Minnesota: What teams chirp the best, and what are some of the best you’ve heard on the ice?
Noah Cates: Roseville has some good ones. A few of the funnier things I’ve heard on the ice are stuff like “Go back to your cave, Sasquatch”; someone might ask “When’s your tee time?” in an elimination game, or tell you to “Mix in a salad.”
Game On! Minnesota: I see you’ve included a picture of the captains of both the girls’ and boys’ teams together.
Noah Cates: Yes, we took that picture when Hockey Day in Minnesota was 100 days out. We’re really looking forward to representing Stillwater at Hockey Day in Minnesota the best we can. It’s a great opportunity to show what Stillwater is all about, and put Stillwater back on the map.
Game On! Minnesota: Okay, so I’m in Stillwater; what are a couple must stops on my tour?
Noah Cates: Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop for a bacon cheeseburger. I can’t beat it. Also the view of the bridge from on top of the Main Street stairs. That’s where the picture of T.J. Sagissor and me was taken from.
Game On! Minnesota: I see you have the image that reads “One Last Go.” Can you elaborate?
Noah Cates: This is the last season and the last time for this group of guys to make the most of our opportunity.
Game On! Minnesota: Does your team have a motto for this year?
Noah Cates: Unfinished business.