Edina hockey coaching great Willard Ikola and Jenny Jannett, who helped Apple Valley win the first girls' hockey state championship in 1995, held The Eveleth Trophy at the news conference Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center. Photo: Jack Warrick, Star Tribune
The newest Minnesota high school hockey state tournament trophy is intended to travel a bit, not unlike the Stanley Cup.
In honor of this year's 75th boys' hockey tournament and 25th girls' hockey tournament, a new travelling state championship trophy -- The Eveleth Trophy -- was unveiled for use this season.
The trophy was shown off Tuesday morning at a press conference at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The four state championship teams this year will share it during the offseason.
“It’s an exciting day for high school hockey, for girls and the boys. The trophy that you see to my left is a statement of pride, tradition, and the history of our sport in the state of Minnesota,” said Mike MacMillan, executive director of the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey Coaches Association.
Jostens, a memorabilia company, took the 1945 boys’ state championship trophy, the first ever, from Eveleth and added onto the bottom of it to create The Eveleth Trophy. The winning schools will be engraved on the trophy. They also will receive the Minnesota State High School League's traditional individual wooden plaques that include a team photo on it.
The trophy is sponsored by the high school league, Minnesota Wild, Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Boys and Girls High School Hockey Associations, the State of Hockey and Jostens.
“A lot of those trophies go back to school and stay at the school, and nobody sees them much but students and teachers,” said Willard Ikola, who won three state tournaments as a player with Eveleth and eight as a head coach at Edina. “Then to end up in this situation where it’s going to be used for the rest of the life of the tournament. I think it’s a great thing.”
Like the NHL's Stanley Cup, teams will be able to bring the historic trophy back to their home cities to show it off. The winners of the Class 2A and 1A winners for the girls' and boys' tournament will share time with the trophy during the offseason.
Ikola and Apple Valley’s Jenny Jannett, who helped win the first ever girls’ state hockey tournament as a goalie in 1995, brought out the trophy during the press conference.
“It was absolutely amazing. Back then I couldn’t put it into words and I still can’t now,” said Jannett of winning the first girls’ state tournament with a 2-0 victory over South St. Paul. “I think it’s amazing how far it’s come, from just having 24 teams the first year up to now they have the two divisions, and the expansion in college hockey, professional hockey. In the 25 years they’ve done some really incredible things.”
The girls' hockey tournament starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday at Xcel Energy Center and TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center. The boys' tournament runs March 6-9.