Yesterday was the kick-off of the Minnesota Boys’ State High school hockey tournament. Arguably the best four days of high school hockey in the country. It is the weekend that little boys dream of, because you can be sure since they were old enough to lace the skates, they were told stories of the Tourney.
The first tournament was played in 1945 and in a very bold move, the MSHSL split the tourney into two classes in 1994. In the 2006 tournament, the average attendance per game was 18,000 people. It’s the big daddy of high school sports tournaments (yes, bigger than Texas football) and a treat if you can score a ticket. Years ago, there were a few teams in the A class that I wanted to see and pulling my goalie girl out of school for a few days to head to St. Paul wasn’t even questioned.
Some schools are literally known as hockey royalty. Bloomington Jefferson; Duluth East; Edina; Hill Murray; Roseau; St. Paul Johnson and Warroad to name a few. I can not even imagine the pressure playing for or parenting a player on one of these teams. Our little middle of the cornfield town association had more politics than I was able to handle, a big named team? UffDa!
Heros are born in every tournament. A good game, played with all the passion and intensity High School pride can supply, is one of the most entertaining hockey games you’ll ever see.
Our little girls made it to the tournament during Zandra’s last year on the team. Even though it was a very rocky season for her, she soaked in the pomp and circumstance and had a blast. Their first game was against the soon to be state champs. The Roseau Rams are also hockey royalty and that first draw was the kiss of death for our gals. The back up goalie started the game and after letting in 8 goals the coach finally put in Za. Funny though, the news story was the shellacking the Rams gave our Lil tigers and the three goals scored on my girl were the highlights shown. True story. It was pretty lulz. At least she got on the news. Heh.
But the boys tourney? That’s over 60 years of tradition. There are certain rules that were set while watching as a lil tyke with my mom being raised on the Iron Range…
A. Always cheer for Grand Rapids
2. If GR was not in the tourney, always cheer for an up north team.
III. NEVER cheer for a private school. Fuck private schools and their money.
3. Moorhead is technically North Dakota, don’t cheer for them.
IV. Even though we hate hockey dynasties, it’s ok to cheer for Bloomington Jefferson because the Beattie boys (cabin neighbors) played for them.
And the best tourney time rule of all?
All regular chores will be waived and homework will not be given during the Boys Tournament. Fact.
So good luck to all; for those who will only play a game or two, soak it in; for those with a chance to win it all, win with class. And for the goalie parents? Bring flasks…lots of flasks.
You’re playing worse and worse and right now you’re playing like it’s next month.