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An offensive machine, Bates leads St. Norbert hockey team

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

DE PERE – So far this season, St. Norbert College senior forward Peter Bates has been named the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) Offensive Player of the Week four times.

Bates, an Evanston, Illinois, native, is the first player to earn four NCHA Player of the Week honors in one season since the 2010-11 season.

“It’s helped to have consistent lines throughout the years,” Bates said. “I’ve been playing with the same few guys – that’s the biggest thing.”

Bates and his Green Knights teammates travel to No. 1-ranked Adrian College this weekend for their biggest games of the season, something Bates said he’s excited about.

“It’s fun playing in Adrian,” he said. “The arena is loud and the fans sit right above you on the bench, yelling things. Adrian is a good combination of being big and skilled, and they have lots of good players and score lots of goals.”

With St. Norbert and Adrian both sitting at 16-0 in conference play, this weekend’s games will decide home-ice advantage throughout the NCHA playoffs.

Bates, who was named the NCHA Offensive Player of the Week Oct. 2, Dec. 7, Jan. 18 and Feb. 1, currently has 24 goals and 24 assists for 48 points in 24 games this season.

“Hopefully, I can get my fifth (NCHA) award this weekend (against Adrian),” Bates said.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 season for the Green Knights, Bates, along with two other seniors, decided to come back for a fifth year of schooling and hockey.

“This is my last year at St. Norbert,” Bates laughed. “I’ve extended my college time as much as I can. I’m excited to have the playoffs approaching, but I’m also sad it’s coming to an end. It was tough not being able to play last season.”

Even though his time at St. Norbert is coming to an end, Bates, an economics major, said he’s hoping hockey is in his future.

“I graduated last year and started graduate classes this year,” he said. “I’ll finish my master’s degree at some point, but I’m not sure how long it will take me.”

The Green Knights are led by Head Coach Tim Coghlin, currently in his 28th year at St. Norbert.

Coghlin’s teams have compiled a 616-160-58 record in his 28 seasons in De Pere.

During that time, the Green Knights have a 334-87-35 mark in the NCHA and have appeared in 19 NCAA Division III Tournaments since 1997, highlighted by national championships in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018.

St. Norbert has made 12 Frozen Four appearances – the second-most in Division III history – and was the national runner-up in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2016.

Coghlin’s nine national title game appearances as a head coach are tied for the most in NCAA Division III history.

Over the past 24 seasons, the Green Knights have won 16 NCHA regular-season championships and 15 NCHA playoff titles.

“It’s been important to have Coach Coghlin as my mentor,” Bates said. “He’s given me an opportunity to play, and I’ve changed lots since I’ve been here. That’s due in large part because of him and everybody else on the team. I’m thankful for my time here.”

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