Stories from the Minnesota Boys' State Hockey Tournament
David La Vaque and L. R. Nelson
Foreword by Aaron, Neal, and Paul Broten
Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 1, 2020)
Seventy-five years of big names and memorable games—chronicling the highs and lows, the memories, and the legends from the Minnesota boys’ state high school tournament.
“It is the Stanley Cup, the World Series, and the Super Bowl, all rolled into one. You young men will go on from here and play in many other sports events, but you’ll always remember the Minnesota High School Hockey Tournament as the best.”
Every spring, the state of Minnesota—from urban metropolises to remote Canadian borderlands—is riveted by the spectacle of the boys’ high school hockey tournament. Going back to the inaugural competition in 1945, the state tournament has produced incredible drama on and off the ice, featured legendary players, invigorated communities—and showcased some of the best hockey hair the world has ever seen. The tournament draws thousands to St. Paul, and countless more tune in on television screens around the state.
In Tourney Time, longtime sports journalists David La Vaque and L. R. Nelson take readers year by year through the tournament, highlighting the key games, the backstories, and the players that made each one shine. Interviews with players, coaches, and fans bring firsthand perspectives and insights to the games and tournaments, while in-depth statistics and results reveal the numbers behind the memories. In addition, the authors share their rankings of the most memorable moments, performances, characters, nicknames, upsets, and more from seventyfive years of tournament play.
Combining archival research, personal recollections, and vivid imagery, Tourney Time offers a detailed and insightful history of the nation’s greatest high school sports event and one of Minnesota’s most cherished institutions.
David La Vaque is a reporter for the Star Tribune and has been the newspaper’s point person for high school hockey since 2010. He has covered the state tournament in its entirety each year, writing enterprise pieces on the sport and selecting the paper’s All-Metro teams and Metro Player of the Year. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, he covered sports for the Minnesota Daily and his work has also appeared in such media as Athlon Sports Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CSN-Chicago, Duluth News Tribune, Miami Herald, Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA Junior Hockey Magazine, and US College Hockey Online Magazine, among others. He grew up playing hockey on St. Paul’s East Side. La Vaque now lives in Woodbury, Minnesota, with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Michaela.
L. R. Nelson is an author, freelance journalist, and photographer and the founder and president of Legacy.Hockey, Minnesota’s number one resource for high school hockey’s past, present, and future. A recipient of numerous state, regional, and national writing awards, he researched, wrote, and published a series on Minnesota’s top 100 high school players as managing editor of the Minnesota Hockey Hub. He covered Stanley Cup runs as a beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks, and he has covered multiple Super Bowls, college football national championship games, golf major championships, and the World Series. Nelson grew up playing hockey in and around International Falls, Minnesota, and now lives in Excelsior with his wife, Helen. They have two children, Katherine and Luke.
Legendary brothers Aaron, Neal, and Paul Broten dazzled crowds in a combined six state high school hockey tournaments from 1975 to 1984, all for Roseau High School. Neal Broten, the eldest of the three, went on to win an NCAA championship with the University of Minnesota Gophers in 1979, a gold medal with the US Olympic team in 1980, and an NHL Stanley Cup title with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. He played 17 seasons in the NHL and was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000. Aaron Broten played two years with the University of Minnesota before being drafted into the NHL, where he enjoyed a 12-year career. He became a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. Paul Broten, the youngest, played four years with the University of Minnesota and seven seasons in the NHL.
Reviews and news
“La Vaque and Nelson have produced the most amazing book about the boys’ state high school hockey championship. Their countless hours of research results in a compelling and riveting walk down memory lane. Once you start paging through, you will not want to put it down. It is a fantastic history of the tournament and a must-read.”
Lou Nanne, former NHL player and general manager and member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame
“I get chills reading this book. Some of my best memories as a hockey player are playing in the state tournament, and Loren and David do a great job recapturing those moments.”
T. J. Oshie, two-time Minnesota state champion with Warroad and 2018 Stanley Cup champion with the Washington Capitals
“The state tournament went from an event beloved by Minnesota’s hockey cult in an old arena in St. Paul to a statewide preoccupation starting in 1969, when it moved to an NHL arena in Bloomington, and the magic of small vs. big—Warroad and Henry Boucha vs. the Edina assembly line of great players—took center stage. La Vaque and Nelson bring that drama alive with inside tales and repeat that superb work with so many other state tourney moments.”
Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune
In the Media:
Let's Play Hockey (excerpt p. 54)
- 288 pages
- 200 b&w illustrations
- 8.5 x 11 inches
- ISBN: 9781681341491
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