2020 NHL Draft

Preview: 2020 MSHSL State Hockey Tournament

Steve Kournianos  |  03/04/2020 |  Nashville  |  

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This article originally appeared in Sporting News

NASHVILLE (The Draft Analyst) — One of the most prestigious high school competitions in the nation kicks off on Wednesday when the State of Hockey lives up to its billing as the epicenter of all sports played on a sheet of ice. Yes, it’s time once again for Minnesota’s annual Boys’ Hockey State Tournament — a 16-team, single-elimination event that produces two state champions and all kinds of memories for players and fans alike.

The tournament only last four days on paper, with championship matches on Saturday for both Class A and Class AA serving as the culminating events. But the impact of “The Tourney” on the local communities involved cannot be measured by dates on a calendar or how many programs can be squeezed into an on-ice Battle Royale. Time and again, this wonderful competition never fails to disappoint in the intrigue and intensity departments regardless of who’s participating.

What can we expect in this year’s show? For starters, you can count on several dozen of the nation’s premier college hockey recruits and their supporting casts to compete feverishly for school pride and hometown bragging rights. But there is also an added twist that has become synonymous with not only Minnesota, but the sport of hockey as a whole. As great as the on-ice product can be, the Minnesota state tournament wouldn’t be the same without the added bonus of “Minneflowta” and all of the wackiness it brings in the form of early-1990’s hairstyles revealed during pregame introductions.

We understand that some of you may be first timers, and because of that, we’ve prepared this quick overview of the 2020 edition.


What is the Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament?

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is made up of nearly 200 schools from over 20 conferences throughout the state but only 16 teams participate in the state tournament. These conferences are divided into two classes – Class A and Class AA – and inter-class play is common on a varsity hockey program’s schedule. The regular season for both classes runs from late November to mid-February, whereupon the schools are split into their respective classes for a three-round, single-game elimination playoff called “sectionals”, with eight sections per class. The winning schools of each section – eight apiece for Classes A and AA – are then re-seeded for the right to play for the state championship, or “state”, which takes place in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center the first week of March. The state tournament follows the same three-round, single-game elimination as the sectionals, and all four quarterfinal matchups for both Class A and Class AA are played in one day. The winner from each class will be the state champion.


Where is the 2020 Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament?

This year’s tournament will take place in St. Paul, Minn., at the Xcel Energy Center, which is the home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. The arena has hosted the event since March of 2000.


When will the 2020 Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament take place?

The tournament runs from Wednesday, March 4 to Saturday March 7, with the championship games for both Class A and Class AA on the final day.

The first of Wednesday’s four Class A quarterfinals begins at 11 a.m., followed by an off day on Thursday. Class AA quarterfinals start Thursday also beginning at 11 a.m. Friday will feature the semifinals for both classes, with Class A slotted for the two early games and Class AA closing it out at night. The Class A and Class AA championships will be held on Saturday at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, with each title game preceded by a third-place match.


What channel is the 2020 Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament being aired on?


Which schools are playing in the 2020 Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament?

 There are 16 schools participating, with eight from each class. The winners from each class will be crowned state champions.

Class A Class AA
Warroad Andover
St. Cloud Cathedral The Blake School
Hermantown Eden Prairie
Mahtomedi Moorhead
Delano Hill-Murray
Monticello Lakeville South
Mankato East/Loyola Maple Grove
Hutchinson St. Thomas Academy

Full schedule for the 2020 Minnesota Boys’ Hockey State Tournament

 All Times Eastern/Central

Third-Place and Consolation Matches

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 (CLASS A) TIME STREAM VENUE
QF1 (2) St. Cloud Cathedral vs (7) Mankato East/Loyola 12 p.m./11 a.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF2 (3) Hermantown vs (6) Monticello 2 p.m./1 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF3 (1) Warroad vs (8) Hutchinson 7 p.m./6 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF4 (4) Mahtomedi vs (5) Delano 9 p.m/8 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
THURSDAY, MARCH 5 (CLASS AA) TIME STREAM VENUE
QF1 (2) Blake vs (7) Maple Grove 12 p.m./11 a.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF2 (3) Eden Prairie vs (6) Lakeville South 2 p.m./1 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF3 (1) Andover vs (8) St. Thomas 7 p.m./6 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
QF4 (4) Moorhead vs (5) Hill-Murray 9 p.m/8 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
FRIDAY, MARCH 6 TIME STREAM VENUE
Class A SF1 QF1 winner vs QF2 winner 12 p.m./11 a.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
Class A SF2 QF3 winner vs QF4 winner 2 p.m./1 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
Class AA SF2 (QF3 winner vs QF4 winner) 7 p.m./6 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
Class AA SF1 (QF1 winner vs QF2 winner) 9 p.m/8 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
SATURDAY, MARCH 7 TIME STREAM VENUE
Class A Championship 1 p.m./12 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
Class AA Championship 8 p.m./7 p.m. Prep45 Xcel Center
THURSDAY, MARCH 5 TIME STREAM VENUE
Consolation SF1 (Class A) 11 a.m./10 a.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation SF2 (Class A) 1 p.m./12 p.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
FRIDAY, MARCH 6 TIME STREAM VENUE
Consolation SF1 (Class AA) 11 a.m./10 a.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation SF2 (Class AA) 1 p.m./12 p.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
SATURDAY, MARCH 7 TIME STREAM VENUE
Third-Place Game (Class A) 10 a.m./9 a.m. PrepSpotlightTV Xcel Center
Consolation Final (Class A) 11 a.m./10 a.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation Final (Class AA) 1 p.m./12 p.m. PrepSpotlightTV 3M Arena at Mariucci
Third-Place Game (Class AA) 5 p.m./4 p.m. PrepSpotlightTV Xcel Center

Top Players to Watch

Grant Slukynsky, Center; Warroad (Northern Michigan)

A Mr. Hockey finalist for top player in the state, Slukynsky is Warroad’s No. 1 center and go-to forward when the going gets tough. He’s a dual threat who can pass the puck as well as he can finish, but he also thinks the game at a high level and logs a ton of minutes.

Blake Biondi, Center; Hermantown (Minnesota-Duluth)

Biondi is a prolific scorer who is one of the top forwards in the nation. He’s played for Team USA at the under-17 level and also took part in the under-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament after he was invited to play for the vaunted U.S. National Team Development Program. He has an excellent shot but has the flair and creativity to make his linemates better.

Ben Steeves, Left Wing; Eden Prairie (Minnesota-Duluth)

A fast-skating goal scorer who is used in all situations, Steeves has been the driving force behind the potent attack of Eden Prairie, which lost in last year’s title game to Edina and is looking for its first state title since 2011. Steeves was the Eagels’ lone finalist for Mr. Hockey.

Wyatt Kaiser, Defenseman; Andover (Minnesota-Duluth)

A mature and poised two-way defenseman with excellent mobility and a knack for trapping overzealous forecheckers, Kaiser also played for the U.S. Select squad at the Hlinka and is a Mr. Hockey nominee. He is the key figure for arguably the tournament’s best defense corps.

Jack Smith, Center; St. Cloud Cathedral (Minnesota-Duluth)

A soft-mitted playmaker with an excellent shot, Smith also turned down an NTDP spot to help lead Cathedral to last year’s Class A title. He was hurt for a good chunk of his senior year but he was next to unstoppable in the sectionals.

Blake Perbix, Right Wing; St. Cloud Cathedral (Uncommitted)

A horse along the boards and an impressive all-around forward, Perbix along with teammates Smith and Nate Warner are in the running for the best line in the state. He has excellent vision and puts a soft touch on his passes when necessary.