The Land of 10,000 Lakes may be the most popular nickname for Minnesota, but it's also known as The State of Hockey — and for good reason.
It's 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 also won the NCAA National Championship eight times in the past 16 years; the Minnesota Whitecaps joined the growing National Women's Hockey League in 2018; and Minnesota will be one of six franchises in the Professional Women's Hockey League debut season, which is set to start in early 2024 at Xcel Energy Center.
Here are a few of the best ways to experience Minnesota's hockey culture, which flows through our veins like walleye in our lakes.
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.
Celebrate Hockey Day Minnesota
Hockey fans from Minnesota and beyond take pride in their beloved sport at Bally Sports North's annual Hockey Day Minnesota. This Minnesota tradition began in 2007 and takes place in a different city every year. In 2024, the celebration will be in Warroad where hockey fans will gather to enjoy games of boys and girls high school hockey followed by a Minnesota Wild game.
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.
Skate the Country’s Longest Ice Path in Hockeytown USA
Lace up your skates and glide down the Warroad Riverbend Skate Path, which spans 5.2 miles throughout Warroad. If you do not have skates, you can rent them at Doc’s Harbor Inn. Skaters will find Christmas trees, hot cocoa, and other concessions along the way.
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.
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