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Friday, December 23, 2016

Pioneers tab Hjelm as offensive line coach

Pioneers tab Hjelm as new offensive line coach Erik Hjelm, an original Pioneer stalwart of the team’s first offensive line, will be St. Paul’s offensive line coach in 2017. A graduate of Roseville’s Alexander Ramsey High School and Anoka Ramsey Community College, Hjelm brings years of playing and coaching experience – and more than a bit of a snarl – to the Pioneers’ staff. Besides playing during the Pioneers inaugural season in 2002, Hjelm also played and coached with the former Oakdale Outlaws. For the past eight years, he has coached in the St. Francis school district and also coached in Roseville. Erik, a master plumber, brings intensity and attention to detail to his weekly work with the Pioneers’ offensive linemen and is tasked with molding several experienced players with a group of promising youngsters. Welcome home, Erik.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Former Pioneers owner named general manager

Former Pioneers owner named general manager One of the most critical cogs in St. Paul Pioneers history is once again taking on a major role with the seven-time champions of the Northern Elite Football League. George “Juice” Hall, a team board member and former owner, has been named general manager for the 2017 season. By elevating Juice to this key role, the Pioneers continue working to strengthen their future by also tightening the ties to their past. Juice began his legacy in local semi-pro football in 1995 as a player in the old Mid-America Football League, winning a title as a member of the Minneapolis Lumberjacks in 2001. He would help start the St. Paul Pioneers in 2002, acting as a player, then sideline manager and, ultimately, team owner in 2008 and 2009. The 2009 squad achieved a longtime dream, winning the North American Football League championshiop with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Nashville Storm in Miami, Fla. The next year, the Pioneers reorganized to form a volunteer board of directors and Juice became a key board member for NEFL championship teams in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. During that time, the Pioneers won USA Bowl National Championships after the 2012 and 2014 seasons. In all, Juice has been a part of 17 championship teams and in 2013 was voted to the AFA semi-pro Hall of Fame as an executive. Now, Juice, a medical software IMP analyst, intends to keep the Pioneers building for championships to come. He assumes the GM role from Head Coach Mark Heiser, who will continue leading the Pioneers on the field on game days.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pioneers add experienced coach to defensive side of the ball

Dave Ladd has joined the St. Paul Pioneers coaching staff for the 2017 season. An experienced high school and semi-pro coach, Dave will be the Pioneers linebackers coach, helping the St. Paul defense continue its tradition of excellence. Prior to joining the Pioneers, Dave was the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for the South Metro Patriots of the Northern States Football League. In 2014, Dave was the defensive line coach for the Mid-America Fighting Orioles team that won the NSFL championship. Dave also has coached with the North Bank Bulls of the Northern Elite Football League and the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women’s Football League. Dave has coached extensively at the high school level, previously coaching at Bloomington Kennedy High School, St. Louis Park High School and Academy of Holy Angels High School in Richfield. He also serves on the board of directors for the Valley Athletic Association in Apple Valley, MN. In his playing days, he was a member of back-to-back undefeated state championship teams in Hutchinson, MN. His says his coaching philosophy is centered upon “developing better football players, attention to detail, personal responsibility and the value of teamwork.” When he is not coaching, Dave runs a government relations and strategic communications consulting firm, RDL & Associates. He is an avid Minnesota Vikings fan and loves spending every spare moment he can with his 6-year-old son, Ryan. Welcome to the Pioneers, Dave!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Reigning NEFL Champions set Jan. 7 tryout at Sea Foam

Once again, the St. Paul Pioneers -- winners of seven consevutive NEFL crowns -- are searching for players with the talent, the drive and the character to be champions. We are looking for outstanding players at ALL position groups. We are one of the best amateur football teams in the nation because each year we are joined by new players whose talents and contributions make us stronger. Will that be you this year? Join us under the bubble at Concordia University-St. Paul's Sea Foam Stadium. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. Cost to try out for new players is $20. Players who finished the 2016 season on the Pioneers roster will be admitted free. Wear workout clothes and football shoes. You will be tested in a number of football specific drills. We hope to see you there!

Pioneers hold 2016 Awards Banquet

The seven-time NEFL Champion St. Paul Pioneers held their 2016 Celebration Banquet Sunday at O'Gara's Bar and Grill in St. Paul. It was a great night. Team Mom Marla Collins and Team Heartbeat George "Juice" Hall pulled together a terrific program, filled with an awesome highlight video, fantastic photos and a whole vault full of memories. Honored for their outstanding contributions and performances were:
President's Award: Rick Barrett Deanie Hooks Volunteer Award: Thomas (Tom) Kelly, Griffin Pocock and Mike Kelly. Team MVP: Ronald Zollicoffer. Offense MVP: Ronald Zollicoffer and Cleve McCoy. Defense MVP: Lionel Lamarre and Jeff McGaster. Special Teams MVP: Bobby Wright. Lineman of the Year: Alvin Johnson. Rookie of the Year: Desmond Stevenson. Pioneer Award: Donte Pettis. Most Yards Rushing: Ronald Zollicoffer. Most Touchdowns: Ronald Zollicoffer. Most Receptions: Ronald Zollicoffer. Most Tackles: Jeff McGaster. Most Sacks: Jeff McGaster. Most Interceptions: Lional Lamarre. Receiving NEFL League Awards were: League MVP: Ronald Zollicoffer. All NEFL: Ronald Zollicoffer, Cleve McCoy, Jeff McGaster, Patrick Mitambo, Brandon Murdock, Lionel Lamarre, Donte Pettis, Desmond Stevenson. All NEFL Honorable Mention: Cory Brenner, Delane Woods, Joseph Mapson.