The tournament began back in 1945 in St. Paul. After a stop at the home of the Minnesota North Stars, the Met Center, for eight years in the 1970's, the tournament returned to St. Paul at the new St. Paul Civic Center, known for it's clear boards, which you can see below in one of today's videos. For nearly 50 years the tournament was played as an eight team, single class tournament, which lent itself to classic David versus Goliath matchups, as the smaller schools from the northern part of the state travelled down to the big city, taking on some of the largest schools attendance-wise in the state.
Those private schools are considered to have the advantage of being able to recruit the best players to attend their schools rather than take what comes their way in the case of the traditional public schools who draw students from their local geographic region. This "class war" is an age old argument between the public and private schools and is only magnified with the arrival of a smaller school from the north, such as when tiny Roseau makes an appearance in St. Paul, and is one of the driving forces behind the ongoing popularity of the tournament, as every great drama must have its villain.
#13 patches in support of Jack Jablonski
#2 seed Stillwater from east of the Twin Cities along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border takes on Farmington from just south of the Twin Cities. #3 Wayzata will battle Burnsville, both Twin Cities metro area suburbs. In the evening session, #1 ranked Eden Prairie from the southwest suburbs is paired against northern suburb Anoka, who are making their first appearance in St. Paul since winning the championship back in 2003. Finally, #4 Grand Rapids (enrollment 978) will square off against #5 seed Bemidji (1,144), in an unfortunate draw that will see one of the smaller schools from "up north" eliminated on the first day. With the large number of Twin Cities schools taking part, one can see why the survivor of this final game of the day will be a fan favorite for those without a rooting interest in one of the other large suburban metro area teams.
2003 state champions Anoka have been home to one NHLer, Steve Alley, who played 105 games for the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA in 1977-78 and 1978-79 and 15 games for the Hartford Whalers divided between 1979-80 and 1980-81.
Let's se if we can possibly capture the event, spirit and emotion of the tournament with today's video selections, begining with a look at last years excitement.