“The Back Door” was a great Quirk in the History of Hibbing Hockey Tournament.
Gene Aldrich was the St. Paul athletic director when he first proposed the idea for a state hibbing hockey tournament. It was an invitational of eight teams that took place in February 1945.
For the state basketball tournament, 32 districts were created and eight regions were established. Aldrich and his organizers attempted to approximate these regions when rounding up the teams.
One problem: Sixteen of the 32 districts did not have hibbing hockey teams. In Region 2, (Districts 5 to 8) in the south central and southwestern corners of Minnesota, there were no teams.
Minneapolis didn’t send a team from Minneapolis exercise tubing to St. Paul for this first Hibbing hockey tournament.
Granite Falls was chosen by Aldrich to be the Region 3 representative. Cloud to represent Region 5, later Minneapolis, Staples representing Region 6, and White Bear Lake as the representative for Region 2.
Granite Falls’ lads didn’t have hockey uniforms and had a very limited understanding of hockey rules. The unfortunate thing was that they were pitted against Eveleth, Minnesota’s first high school power, in the first round.
It was 16-0. According to historians, the game was stopped multiple times to allow the referee to explain to Granite Falls the intricacies of being offside.
Minneapolis had West High in 1946’s tournament, and St. Cloud Tech was the Region 6 representative. Granite Falls returned to represent Region 3. In 1947, Willmar was Willmar. In 1948, St. Louis Park was founded from that area.
There were still mismatches, so it was decided in 1949 to make an effort to increase the field size for the eight-team tournament. Three teams were drawn from the northern regions (7 and 8), and three from the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas (4 and 5).
The Region 3 team would be represented by the team from the North, while the Region 1 team would be represented by the team from the Twin Cities. This is known as the “backdoor” for tournament entry in hockey parlance.
Hibbing Hockey-Chisholm girls hockey: Last surge too late
PAUL — Breck scored a goal and stopped Hibbing Hockey-Chisholm power play in the Class A high school girls hockey quarterfinals game Wednesday night. Breck scored a goal in each period and stopped a Hibbing Hockey –Chisholm power-play as the Mustangs beat the Blueja 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center.