Minnesota, the State of Hockey, leads the nation in its devotion to Canada’s national game. Over 6400 players have played in the National Hockey League since its inception with the 1917-18 season. Minnesota outpaces Massachusetts and Michigan as the producer of American talent in the NHL. While much of that player development has taken place since the mid-1970s, the origins of this American hockey dominance can be traced to the 1890s. Minnesota was producing elite teams and players in the years before WWII.
Hockey historian Roger Godin tells this early story by taking readers through the seasons of five championship teams and one runner-up in both the minor league American Hockey Association (AHA) and the Central Hockey League (CHL) These teams were almost exclusively Minnesotan/American in the CHL and had a significant domestic content in the case of the AHA. Beyond the teams, Godin tells the stories of six elite Minnesota players, five of whom played in the NHL and who came out of this same time frame, 1926-42: forward Elwyn “Doc” Romnes, goaltender Mike Karakas, forward Carl “Cully” Dahlstrom, goaltender Hubert “Hub” Nelson, goaltender Frank Brimsek, and defenseman John Mariucci. It a story largely untold and fills a major void in the history of the great ice sport in the United States.