Coach Pankratz is a Bloomington, Minnesota native and has a long list of championship experience as a player. Growing up in Bloomington, Pankratz was a member of Bloomington Jefferson’s PeeWee A, Bantam A, and High School State Championship Teams. At 16 years old, he moved on to the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, where he was named Rookie of the Year and All-Star team member in 1992-1993. During the 1992-1993 season, Pankratz helped the Lancers to the Anderson and Clark Cup Championships. Pankratz also represented his country as a member of the USA Hockey’s National Under-18 and Under-17 teams and played in the National Olympic Festival held at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Joe played college hockey at The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers before joining the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He then moved on to play professionally in Germany where he finished his career with EV Landsberg of the German Bundesliga.
Coach Pankratz is entering his 10th season behind the bench for the Prior Lake Lakers Varsity hockey team. Joe started his coaching career as an Assistant Bantam A Coach for Bloomington Jefferson in 1999. He moved on to serve as Head Coach of the Florida Jr. Panthers Midget Team from 2001-2006, then began at Prior Lake as the Peewee A Head Coach from 2007-2009.
Beginning his HS coaching tenure, Coach Pankratz and his staff went from humble beginnings in the Missota Conference and transitioned to the competitive South Suburban Conference. Over time, and a firm commitment to the youth program, Joe and his staff have helped build the Lakers program from a quarterfinal warm up opponent to a state power. In the last 4 years they have claimed 2 Conference Championships, 1 Section Final, and are still chasing the high school programs first birth in the State Tournament.
Joe and his wife, Shannon, have lived in Prior Lake since 2007. They have one son named Ryder, and a dog named Diesel.
Grew up in Bloomington, MN and graduated from Kennedy. Coached High School Hockey for 11 years (Kennedy, Holy Angels, Prior Lake). Also have coached with MN Hockey at Select 15 &17 festivals. Served as an Assistant Coach with 2012 Prior Lake Peewee AA State Championship team. Head Coach for MN Magicians U16 team in 2016.
A graduate of Prior Lake in 2012, this is Matt’s fourth season coaching the Lakers High School program. Matt was one of the best Laker high school players to come through our system and has a huge passion for the game. In 2011/2012 Matt set the record for most Laker points in a season with 53 while netting 24 goals. Matt was a part of the team that set a new course for Prior Lake hockey in 2010/2011 while knocking off the once proud Academy of Holy Angels program in the section quarterfinals. Matt played a huge role in turning around the Lakers program and now helps in a number of roles. The players enjoy his enthusiasm, positive attitude, and knowledge of the game. We could not be more excited to have Matt Crist as our first alumni of the high school program to come back as a coach.