The State of Hockey
The State of Hockey. A term heard by many but understood by few. Hockey is to Minnesota as football is to Texas, and that shows even more during the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. There is nothing quite like the “Tourney”, from the aroma of fresh-popped popcorn to the bands playing in the filled Xcel Energy Center.
The Tournament is both Class 2A and Class 1A and consists of one winner from each section around the state, so in Class 1A eight teams play in the tournament, and eight teams in Class 2A compete.
2022 MN State Bracket Class A (MSHL Website)
The “Tourney” has a deep-rooted history that has seen many popular names battling for the state championship trophy. Some names include Nick Bjukstad, Jake Guetzel, T.J. Oshie, Nick Leddy, and many..trust me, many more.
MN State Tourney History This website has a history of the team rosters, award winners, and team winners back to the early stages of the state hockey tournament.
Everything I have mentioned is special, especially to people who have grown up in Minnesota, but what really makes the MN state hockey tournament such a spectacle? Well, I’ll start with the youth. Youth hockey clubs are in nearly every county in Minnesota, which quite literally grows hockey players all over the state.
Many of these youth hockey players take a yearly trip to downtown Minneapolis to watch the top High School teams battle for the state title. This grows the passion, along with setting a goal very early in life that they themselves will one day play there when getting to that level.
Youth is where it starts but where it happens is obviously high school, and the tournament all starts in the playoffs, duh. Now if you want to see a packed local rink, go to a section final game in Minnesota, I mean wow, what an environment.
(Chaska boys hockey twitter)
The section finals are where dreams start for many, a game where your regular-season record is thrown out the window, and you get a fresh start to make a run. Winning a section title is usually goal 1A for teams, and once that goal has been accomplished the new goal is to win the next three games in Minneapolis.
And then there is the hair….
The lettuce is showcased every year at the Xcel Energy Center year after year.
The Tourney is filled with joy and heartbreak, like all sports championships. The team that is lucky enough to win the whole thing has accomplished a life goal. But there is always another side…something I know all too well, but hey that was so long ago and I don’t remember it that well. Just a puck bouncing off the wall and leaving a wide-open net to lose in the championship to Orono…so yeah I know heartbreak in this tournament.
Oh wonderful, there is a picture…
So, as I said, there are two sides to each story and that is in full effect in the Tourney.
So, to answer the question; “why is the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament such a special deal?”
Well, after all, it is the State of Hockey.
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