For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved hockey. Maybe because it’s a sport that’s easy to follow and fun to witness. Maybe it’s because my dad has always been into it and ever since I was young I’ve loved watching it with him. Or maybe it’s just because I’m so very Minnesotan and it runs in my veins. Either way, the game is addicting and I love being a part of it whether from the crowd or on the ice.
Every year when the Minnesota high school hockey tourney comes around, my dad, sister and I are most definitely in the audience. It’s a tradition we’ve had for the last four years. The tourney typically runs Wednesday-Saturday and some of the days we watch it at home, but we always try to be there in person for the semi-finals or final championship game for class AA.
There’s nothing like being at the tourney in person. It’s held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul which usually sells out to a crowd of nearly 22,000 people (capacity 18,000). High school hockey in Minnesota is so popular and it draws crowds of people from everywhere. Many people go to the game even if they have to buy tickets for standing room only (us included).
I love being there because the entire arena pulses with energy each game as anticipation and nerves fill the air. A majority of the people in the audience are fans from the high schools that are in the tourney so there’s a lot of school spirit and rivalry that’s entertaining to see. Not to mention it’s great for people watching (high school kids have a lot of drama).
The second game Eden Prairie played Grand Rapids. This game was more intense and the crowd was so alive. By halfway through the second period, everyone was cheering for Grand Rapids (even EP fans). GR’s goalie was incredible. The entire team played well and excelled on the ice. GR won 3-2.
The tourney was also a lot of fun this year because my cousins met up with us. They’re just as hockey crazy as we are so it was awesome to hangout with them and watch the games. I love how close our family is and how they are just like siblings.
Grand Rapids took the championship trophy home Saturday night after they defeated Moorhead 6-3. GR led the game strongly and dominated. It was definitely a well-deserved win.
Another HUGE reason why we love the tourney is because of the hockey hair. You wouldn’t believe how crazy it is until you see it. I look forward to this video every year:
The tourney is the best time of the year when you live in Minnesota and while the high school hockey season might now be over, I can’t wait until next year. Here’s to my next favorite hockey time: the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. I think the rest of MN is with me when I say I’m forever hoping the MN Wild beat those Chicago Blackhawks.