2014 Hockey Hotdish Tournament


Welcome to the 2014 Hockey Hotdish Tournament. This annual competition determines what Minnesota player coach, arena and mascot best represent the State of Hockey. Sixty-four entries have been selected and seeded in four brackets: Beauty (players), Bench Boss (coaches), Barn (arenas) and Big Head (mascot). The winners of each bracket will face off in the Hockey Hotdish Tournament Finals to determine who or what is the best ambassador for hockey in Minnesota.

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This month's cover: July 10, 2014

Click the image above for a PDF of this month's cover of Let's Play Hockey

Vanek feels at home with Wild


By Mike Doyle

With the ink still drying on his new three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild, Thomas Vanek slipped on a Forest Green sweater for the first time and addressed the media at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, July 1.

While typically free agents have to hold their introductory pressers via phone, it wasn’t hard for Vanek to get to the arena. The former University of Minnesota star has lived in the State of Hockey since leaving the Golden Gophers for the NHL nine seasons ago. Now, the 30-year-old will remain in Minnesota year-round as the newest member of the Wild, and his exhilaration was palpable.

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Enjoying the journey paid off for Matt Niskanen


By Mark Manney
MHCA Vice President
Andover High School Head Boys’ Hockey Coach

Matt Niskanen was sitting in Keith Hendrickson’s office in the summer before his senior year of high school. Niskanen, a prized defenseman for Hendrickson’s Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils, had committed to playing hockey for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs after graduation, and he had a dilemma.  Niskanen had reached a crossroads that he never envisioned and he needed help.

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Feeling a Draft: Minnesotans in the 2014 NHL Draft


A total of 15 Minnesotans were selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, continuing the state’s proud tradition of developing NHL-caliber players


By Kevin Kurtt
Let’s Play Hockey Editor

When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected former Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School defenseman Ryan Collins with the 47th pick in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on June 28, a notable streak continued. For 46 straight years now, a Minnesotan has heard his name called at the NHL Draft. In all, 15 Minnesotans, were selected in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

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