High School

Dave Peterson Award winner: Dave Esse

The Dave Peterson Award is given annually to a high school coach who has shown great leadership in developing youth hockey either locally or statewide.

Dave Esse has been a part of the staff at Cloquet/Esko/Carlton for 21 years, including the last 11 seasons as the Lumberjacks’ head coach.

Esse, a 1985 graduate of Cloquet High School, returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1991 while teaching physical education in Carlton after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Superior the same year.

At UWS, Esse served as a team captain, was a three-time All-Wisconsin State University Conference selection and, as a senior earned first-team All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and All-American honors. In 1989, he was named the school’s most inspirational athlete. In 2005, he was inducted into the UWS Athletics Hall of Fame.

As an assistant coach, he helped guide the Lumberjacks to their first two state tournament appearances, in 1992 and 1993, which included the Tier I consolation title in 1993.

A multiple winner of Section 7AA Coach of the Year Awards, Esse is a long-time board member of the Cloquet Amateur Hockey Association along with serving as the Player Development Chairperson. He has worked with the CAHA board and their various committees along with working to help build Cloquet’s new arena.

For many years, Esse has coached and coordinated the ice mite/learn to skate program for Cloquet. He has also run coaching clinics for area youth coaches along with running summer clinics for the past 25 years. Over the past 12 years, players from 13 states and two Canadian provinces have attended his summer and fall camps.

He has also coached a variety of Select and High Performance teams as well as being an evaluator for many Minnesota Hockey teams and continues to work with area youth players to develop their hockey skills and help them reach their potential.

Dave and his wife, Christine, have two daughters who both play hockey. Courtney recently completed her sophomore season at St. Scholastic while Carley is a junior at Cloquet/Esko/Carlton.