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Experience Hockey in Minnesota

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Hockey Day is an annual holiday for college hockey fans in Minnesota / Spencer Barrett

Experience Hockey in Minnesota

By Caitlin Hannah

Minnesota's most popular nickname may be The Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it's also known as The State of Hockey—and for good reason. 

Hockey is one of the most popular sports in Minnesota. Every year, more than 135,000 fans gather at the Xcel Energy Center for the Minnesota Boys State Hockey Tournament. The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team has won the NCAA National Championship eight times in the past 16 years, and the Minnesota Whitecaps joined the growing National Women's Hockey League in 2018. 

Here in Minnesota, hockey flows through our veins like walleye in our lakes. Here are a few of the best ways to experience Minnesota's hockey culture.

Minnesota Wild celebrate after a goal

Minnesota Wild players celebrate after a goal / ©2019-2020 Minnesota Wild/Bruce Kluckhohn

Get Wild in St. Paul

For some NHL action, cheer on the home team at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. Hockey returned to Minnesota in 2000 with the Minnesota Wild. Stroll through the arena to see nods to the history of the sport, snap a selfie with your favorite Charlie Brown characters and cheer for the “Team of 18,000.” The team includes a few Minnesota natives, too. If you’re in the mood for a bite to eat before or after the game, visit Herbie’s on the Park, which pays homage to Herb Brooks, or Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub that is full of hockey memorabilia.

Aerial shot of a hockey rink on the St. Croix River

Hockey Day Minnesota travels to a different city every year / Spencer Barrett

Celebrate Hockey Day Minnesota 

Hockey fans from Minnesota and beyond take pride in their beloved sport at Fox Sports North's annual Hockey Day Minnesota. This Minnesota tradition began in 2007 and takes place in a different city every year. In 2020, the celebration will be in Minneapolis, where hockey fans will gather to enjoy a day of high school hockey followed by matchups featuring NHL alumni, Ohio State and University of Minnesota, followed by a Minnesota Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

World's largest hockey stick

See the world's largest hockey stick in Eveleth / Iron Range Tourism Bureau

Pay Homage to Hockey at the Hall of Fame

Year-round, hockey fans love discovering the history of the game at the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. Try your skills on the replica rink, watch the final moments of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game, and learn about notable hockey players that hail from Minnesota. Just minutes away from the museum you will find the World’s Largest Hockey Stick. Hockey history is also on display in Warroad, dubbed Hockeytown USA, at the city's Olympic and Garden arenas.

Pond hockey players chase after the puck

Teams from across the globe compete in the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis / Krivit Photography, courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Attend a Pond Hockey Tournament

Every year, hockey players from around the world gather at Lake Nokomis for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in hopes of winning the Golden Shovel. ESPN.com listed the event as one of “101 Things Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die." Other pond hockey tournaments can be found at the Northwoods Pond Hockey Championship on McKinney Lake in Grand Rapids, the Gull Lake Frozen Fore in Nisswa, the Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic in North Mankato, and the Southern Minnesota Pond Hockey Championship in Fairmont.

Caitlin Hannah

Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.