Hockey Day in America: Two tiny Minnesota towns present best rivalry in high school hockey

14 Comments

Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

People often call Minnesota the “State of Hockey.” If that’s true, one could say that the rivalry between Roseau and Warroad represents both its bleeding heart and its hockey-obsessed mind.

As this great little trailer shows, the two towns likely generated the best hockey success per capita of any in the United States. Want more proof? Just take a look at some of the simple numbers:

Warroad, MN
Population: 1,722
two indoor ice rinks
five state titles

Roseau, MN
Population: 2,879
three indoor ice rinks
seven state titles

The trailer provides some mind-numbing perspective on the ratio of population-to-NHL-players: if New York City generated pros at the same level, the city would produce 27,693 NHL players. (That’s enough for “41 National Hockey Leagues.”)

Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that the two towns are a mere stone’s throw from Canada, but their rivalry generates the kind of white-hot focus that earns them the designation of being hockey’s answer to “Friday Night Lights.”

Dustin Byfuglien is the most notable contemporary NHL player to emerge from Roseau, but he’s far from the only guy to make a big impact on the sport. Here’s a list of some of the NHL players from the slightly larger town:

Roseau:

Earl Anderson
Mike Baumgartner
Neal Broten
Aaron Broten
Paul Broten
Dustin Byfuglien
Bryan Erickson
Aaron Ness
Dale Smedsmo

Aside from Byfuglien, the Broten family stands out – particularly Neal. He was a significant contributor to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team, scored 923 points in 1,099 NHL games and had his number retired by the Dallas Stars.

Meanwhile, T.J. Oshie is the most noteworthy modern Warroad product, but that town has its own historic heroes. Check out some of their most noteworthy NHL players:

Warroad

Henry Boucha
Dave Christian
Al Hangleben
T.J. Oshie

Much like Roseau, Warroad has a “Miracle on Ice” connection in Christian, who also managed to score 773 points in his 1,009-game NHL career.

***

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience the passion that Texans have for high school football or the hockey equivalent of Indiana’s obsession with basketball, look no further than those two small northern Minnesota towns. They’re small in size and population, but it’s clear that they have a Byfuglien-sized love for the game.

(Image courtesy RoseauHockeyOnline.com)

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

austonmatthews
Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.