OTHER TWIN CITIES HOCKEY MUST-DOs
1. Experience the boys’ high school hockey state tournament
In Indiana, it’s basketball. In Texas, it’s football. In Minnesota, it’s hockey. High school hockey is truly something special. And nothing is more special than the annual boys’ hockey state tournament in St. Paul. The Xcel Energy Center is jammed to the rafters with die-hard hockey fans watching Minnesota’s top high schoolers battle for state supremacy.
If you can get your hands on tickets, soak in the atmosphere with bands, student sections and groups of nervous parents creating a buzz unlike anything else the state has to offer. Make sure to arrive early on day 1 to watch the on-ice introductions of the players, coaches, cheerleaders, mascots and officials, and stay until the very end late on Saturday night when one team jubilantly tosses its helmets, sticks and gloves in the air while the other team is overcome with the agony of defeat.
2. Watch a professional hockey game
Want to see some of the world’s best hockey players face off? Minnesota’s capital city has a pair of options: the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and the Premier Hockey Federation’s Minnesota Whitecaps. Get your hands on some tickets and head to downtown St. Paul a couple hours before the game. Make sure to have dinner at either Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub (a hangout jam-packed with hockey memorabilia) or Herbie’s on the Park (a restaurant inspired by the legacy of Herb Brooks). Speaking of Herbie, don’t miss getting your photo taken with the statue of the legendary coach just outside the doors of the St. Paul RiverCentre.
Before you find your seats for a Wild game at Xcel Energy Center, take your time checking out the historical displays, trophies and photos, as well as jerseys from every Minnesota high school team, throughout the arena. But don’t be late getting to your spot for the game. You don’t want to miss yelling “Let’s! Play! Hockey!” just moments before the opening faceoff.
Just a few blocks from the X sits 3-year-old TRIA Rink, the practice facility of the Wild and the home rink of the Whitecaps, the only professional women’s hockey team in Minnesota to regularly play games in the state. The 2019 NWHL champions feature a slew of past, present and future national and Olympic team members, battling for women’s pro hockey supremacy in front of capacity crowds.
3. Take in a night of Da Beauty League
Hockey fans in Minnesota really are spoiled. Where else can you spend $10 to watch three games in a night between teams filled with current and future NHL stars? In the State of Hockey, you simply head to Edina’s Braemar Arena on Monday and Wednesday nights in July and August to watch the spectacle that is Da Beauty League. Serving as a training ground for players as they prepare for their upcoming pro and college seasons, Da Beauty League games are fast paced with tons of goals. But the action doesn’t stop on the ice. Before and after each game, fans line up outside the arena to catch a glimpse, autograph or selfie with one of the many NHL beauties that dot the rosters.
Pictured above: Minnesota State High School League Boys' Hockey State Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul