Is Minnesota the hockey state of America? Well let’s look at the facts. Fourteen players in the NHL playoffs attend college in the state of Minnesota, including eight Gophers, three Bulldogs, one Beaver, and one Maverick. Sixteen players in the playoffs were born or grew up in the great state of Minnesota. Together these sixteen players have totaled 517 points, 28 in which have been in this year’s playoffs. Pretty crazy numbers thinking that, nine of these sixteen players are defensemen and one is a goalie. Minnesota is making strides towards being the best state on the ice. If they keeps these numbers up nothing is going to stop them.
Let’s talk about a guy like Matt Niskanen, of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Matt was born in a small mining town up by Duluth, MN, called Virginia. He didn’t go far away from home to play his college hockey, as he attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He was a standout defenseman for the Bulldogs. What is really impressive is he is doing now, 5 points already this post-season, giving him 51 total points on the year. In addition, he is playing a huge role for Pittsburgh on their quest for another cup. Or look at a guy like Nick Leddy? An Eden Prairie native, who is only 23 years old and has already lifted the cup once with Chicago. The former Minnesota Gopher had 31 points on the year and has continually been a solid d-man down the stretch for the Blackhawks.
I’ve yet to even mention stars like, Erik Johnson from the Colorado Avalanche, Derek Stepan from the New York Rangers, T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues, Alex Goligoski from the Dallas Stars, all who are players from Minnesota. These men have contributed and lead their teams into the playoffs. These players have a combined total of 204 points this season. We all knew that the state of Minnesota loved hockey but who knew they could produce this much talent too.
How about the team from Minnesota itself, they have this player from Minneapolis Minnesota, Zach Parise. You might have heard of him, as the captain of Team USA and the assistant captain of the Minnesota Wild, loves playing where he grew up. The Minnesota Wild is a new team in the NHL, starting out in 2000, but has already one of the biggest fan bases in the NHL. Who wouldn’t want to play in front of a sellout crowd in the Xcel Energy Center? The Minnesota fans are arguably the best fans in the NHL; the state has a true passion for the game of hockey. The Wild have stars like Parise and Suter and are pursuing their first Stanley Cup in the playoffs and the fans will show you why they are the state of hockey.
This great state with over ten thousands lakes and millions of hockey fans, needless to say, loves this sport. If you talk to most of these players that grew up in Minnesota, they will tell you themselves, it all started playing the game they love on one of those lakes. They grew up playing outside because they love game. You can practice all you want inside but playing outside is where you fall in love with the game. These players are succeeding in the NHL because of their love for the game, which evolved on the frozen lakes throughout Minnesota winters. They continue to love the game as much as they did when they were little.
The NHL playoffs are underway and it was recently voted as the best playoff in sports. All I’m really trying to say, is watch out for the Minnesota boys as they take over in the NHL playoffs. This great state deserves to remain the Hockey State of America. They have talent exploding all over the NHL, fans that are out of this world, and they create a love for the game, which starts outside in the bitter winters of Minnesota.
P.S. Paul Martin of Pittsburgh Penguins, and a Minneapolis native, has 8 points this post-season, he had only 15 points all regular season…
Thanks for reading and remember to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs #Becauseitsthecup
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