Minnesota's most popular nickname may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but not far behind is its moniker as the State of Hockey.
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 21018.
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.
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. This year, the celebration will be in Bemidji, where hockey fans will gather to enjoy a day of high school hockey followed by matchups featuring Minnesota State Mankato, Bemidji State University and Michigan Tech, followed by a Minnesota Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
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.
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.