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3 Minnesota Teams Reach Frozen Four

By Minnesota Hockey, 03/30/21, 2:30PM CDT


Photo Credit: SPX Sports

With three teams from Minnesota reaching the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Frozen Four, the State of Hockey and its community-based model has made its way into the national spotlight again, and deservedly so. Michigan is the only other state to have three teams from within its borders reach the Frozen Four, doing so back in 1992.

It’s an impressive feat, no doubt, and one that may not soon be replicated. However, it’s also not a fluke.

In the 2020-21 season, the American Hockey Coaches Association counted 195 men and 147 women playing Division I college hockey from Minnesota, which accounted for 13.4% and 19% of all players, respectively.

Last week, when it was announced that all five Minnesota schools would be competing in the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Tournament for the first time ever, the Star Tribune highlighted the impact Minnesota players and teams would have on the tournament.

The article noted that 115 players from Minnesota would be competing in the tournament, including 73 on the five Minnesota teams. The next closest state was Michigan with 33. Impressively, all five Minnesota schools also advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals.

"Having the five Minnesota schools in the NCAA tournament is directly related to the development model that has long been in place in Minnesota, which is community associations feeding into high schools," College Hockey Inc. executive director Mike Snee told the Star Tribune. “There's no doubt that Minnesota's impact on high-level players is entirely because of the unique way that an aspiring hockey player in Minnesota plays their hockey… They play for their community as a kid and their high school as a high schooler.”

When the Frozen Four begins on April 8, there will be 44 players from Minnesota on the four teams’ rosters, comprising 40% of all the participants. Combined, they will represent 29 different high schools across the state, ranging from small, out-state schools like Hibbing and Park Rapids to metro power houses like Blaine, Elk River and Minnetonka. The large majority of the players also played high school through their senior year, including all six players from Hermantown, which led all communities. 

A similar Minnesota flavor was also evident in the Women’s Frozen Four. Despite Minnesota Duluth being the only team from Minnesota, the State of Hockey led all states and provinces with 25 players, more than four times the states with the second most (6).

Minnesota hockey icon Lou Nanne echoed Snee’s praise for high school hockey and how it helps set the state apart: "Our high school program is stronger than anywhere around the country. That is what solidifies Minnesota as being a top producer, but it also enhances guys' opportunities."

Best of luck to all the Minnesota players and teams with the opportunity to play for an NCAA National Championship!

College Player Hometown Association/High School
St. Cloud State Easton Brodzinski Blaine Blaine
St. Cloud State Brady Ziemer Carver Hutchinson/Holy Family
St. Cloud State Nick Perbix (TBL) Elk River Elk River
St. Cloud State Micah Miller Grand Rapids Grand Rapids
St. Cloud State Joe Molenaar Minnetonka Minnetonka
St. Cloud State Chase Brand Nevis Park Rapids
St. Cloud State Sam Hentges (MIN) New Brighton Irondale/Totino-Grace
St. Cloud State Seamus Donohue North Oaks Mounds View/St. Thomas Academy
St. Cloud State Spencer Meier Sartell Sartell
St. Cloud State Will Hammer St. Cloud St. Cloud Cathedral
St. Cloud State Trevor Zins St. Michael St. Michael-Albertville
St. Cloud State Jack Johnston St. Paul St. Paul Academy
St. Cloud State Brendan Bushy Thief River Falls Thief River Falls
St. Cloud State Luke Jaycox Warroad Warroad
Minnesota State Dallas Gerads Blaine Blaine
Minnesota State Cade Borchardt Burnsville Burnsville
Minnesota State Jake Jaremko Elk River Elk River
Minnesota State Reggie Lutz Elk River Elk River
Minnesota State Wyatt Aamodt Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota State Ryan Sandelin Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota State Jack McNeely Lakeville Lakeville North
Minnesota State Ryan Edquist - G Lakeville Lakeville North
Minnesota State Andy Carroll Northfield Northfield
Minnesota State Riese Zmolek Rochester Rochester Century High School
Minnesota State Evan Foss - G White Bear Lake White Bear Lake
Minnesota Duluth Wyatt Kaiser (CHI) Andover Andover
Minnesota Duluth Koby Bender Cloquet Cloquet
Minnesota Duluth Louie Roehl Eden Prairie Eden Prairie
Minnesota Duluth Zach Stejskal Grand Rapids Grand Rapids
Minnesota Duluth Darian Gotz Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota Duluth Blake Biondi (MTL) Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota Duluth Cole Koepke (TBL) Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota Duluth Jesse Jacques Hermantown Hermantown
Minnesota Duluth Jarrett Lee Hibbing Hibbing
Minnesota Duluth Nick Swaney (MIN) Lakeville Lakeville South
Minnesota Duluth Connor Kelley Maple Grove Osseo-Maple Grove
Minnesota Duluth Luke Loheit (OTT) Minnetonka Minnetonka
Minnesota Duluth Brady Meyer North Branch North Branch
Minnesota Duluth Matt Anderson Shakopee Shakopee/Holy Family
Minnesota Duluth Jackson Cates Stillwater Stillwater
Minnesota Duluth Noah Cates (PHI) Stillwater Stillwater
Minnesota Duluth Ben Almquist Victoria Chaska Chanhassen/Holy Family
Minnesota Duluth Kobe Roth Warroad Warroad
Massachusetts Garrett Wait Edina Edina

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