Photo Credit: Brendan Meier
One of the greatest traditions in Minnesota is the Minnesota Boy’s High School Hockey Tournament. The tradition started in 1945, when there was a tournament held for boy’s high school hockey at the St. Paul Auditorium. It continues to this day, now taking place at the Xcel Energy Center and Mariucci Arena; and continues to be one of the most popular events in the state of Minnesota.
The teams are divided into two classes by size, A and AA (A is smaller programs while AA is larger programs). Every year, the teams that win their section make it to the tournament, where they will face another team, who could be from anywhere in Minnesota, as long as they are in the same class.
The Class A games start on Wednesday March 4th. The teams that will make an appearance in the Class A tournament this year are Mahtomedi, New Ulm, East Grand Forks, New Prague, Hermantown, Spring Lake Park, Breck School and St. Cloud Apollo. Though this is the less popular of the two classes, it still draws a lot of attention from the public. The games should be entertaining, as the players are full of heart and are truly playing for the love of the game.
The Class AA games start on Thursday, March 5th. The Class AA tournament will feature Edina, Bemidji, St. Thomas Academy, Duluth East, Lakeville North, Hill-Murray, Blaine and Eden Prairie. These games, especially the ones later in the tournament draw extremely large crowds; a record was set in 2008 with 19,559 fans attending a semifinal game.
The tournament is bracketed, and consolation games will take place at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The games are seeded as of 2007, where the top seed plays the lowest seed, and this type of bracket continues until the quarterfinal round.
The tournament is one of the most exciting things for players, parents and fans each year. Many dreams come true during this weekend, as it is an honor to even make an appearance at the tournament.