The Minnesota High School Boys Hockey program is a high school ice hockey program in the State of Minnesota. Based on tournament attendance, ice hockey is the most popular high school sport in the state. 156 high schools (approximately 256 schools and over 6,500 participants in total due to cooperative team arrangements) field sanctioned varsity teams competing in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). These teams are divided into two classes, AA and A. Each class is also divided into eight sections.
High school hockey players throughout Minnesota participate in a maximum of 25 contests, excluding the section tournaments and the Minnesota State Boys' High School Hockey Tournament. Teams currently play three 17-minute periods to comprise a game. A lengthened period time was adopted by the Minnesota State High School League in 2003.
List of Minnesota State HIgh School League Boy's Hockey Teams - Google Map
Boys hockey concludes their season with a four-day tournament in March that features sixteen teams competing for championships in both classes. From 1945 through 1991 the tournament consisted of a single class, eight team tournament instead of the present day two class (AA and A) tournament. Private schools were not allowed to play in the Tournament until the 1974-75 season. In 1992-93, the tournament was composed of Tier I and II teams. This two-year experiment sent the top teams from each of the eight sections to the Tier I portion of the tournament and the remaining teams conducted a playoff to determine who would be included in the Tier II tournament. In 1994, the dual class system was adopted and teams were placed into a class structure based on school enrollments.
Attendance has been strong throughout the years, with 22 tournaments eclipsing the 100,000+ barrier, and in 2004 a record setting total of 120,114 (both classes). In the 2006 State Tournament, the average attendance per game in the championship brackets was 18,000 people. The Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament is currently the largest state sports tournament in the United States in terms of viewing and attendance, beating both the Texas and Florida's State High School Football Tournament and the Indiana State High School Basketball Tournament.
Since 1994, the MSHSL's process to determine section assignments for boys' hockey is based on school enrollments and activity classifications. The basic premise is to place the largest 64 schools into Class AA and the remaining high schools in Class A. Both Classes are then divided into 8 Sections each. Teams are placed into their section assignments with geographic location as a primary consideration. High schools initially placed in Class A have the option to play at the Class AA level.
Beginning with the 2007 state tournament, the top four teams in each class are seeded. Coaches of the participating schools vote to determine the seeded teams the Saturday before the state tournament. The four teams are then bracketed so that if the seeded teams advance, the top seed plays the fourth seed while the second and third seeds play each other. The quarterfinal opponents of the seeded teams are determined by a blind draw.
1905—St. Paul Academy fields their first hockey team-believed to be the oldest in the state of Minnesota
1930s—High school hockey played at approximately 25 schools in Minnesota.
1945—First MSHSL Boys State High School Hockey Tournament (the first of its kind in the United States) held at St. Paul Auditorium.
1969—The tournament moves to Met Center in Bloomington, home of the Minnesota North Stars NHL team.
1976—The tournament moves to the St. Paul Civic Center.
1992—Tier I and Tier II structure adopted.
1994—Class AA and A structure adopted.
1999—The tournament moved to the Target Center in Minneapolis.
2001—The tournament moved to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, home of the Minnesota Wild NHL team.
2003—Period length changed from 15 to 17 minutes.
2007—Coaches seed top four teams in each class.
2008—March 7, 19,559 fans attended the 2008 State Boys’ Hockey Tournament Class AA semifinals at Xcel Energy Center, setting a new record for the largest crowd to ever attend a hockey game in the state of Minnesota.