Minneapolis boys hockey makes state tournament for first time since 1994

The final on-ice preps (and the important state hockey hair primps) are underway for Minneapolis’ boys hockey team, a city squad making the trip to the MSHSL Boys State Hockey Tournament for the first time since 1994.

A long time coming for an up and coming team on the state’s hockey scene.

"We know it’s kind of like a restart," Minneapolis senior defenseman Leo Warner told FOX 9. "We want to put a message out there that Minneapolis hockey is back."

The group is made up of the seven city public high schools. One that got going a decade ago with head coach Joe Dziedzic.

"It’s been a long journey," Dziedzic said. "There were some bleak years where we struggled to put teams together and we’ve slowly started to turn things around."

A product of Minneapolis public schools himself, Dziedzic is an Edison High grad, a Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner and a former Gopher hockey player.

The final on-ice preps are underway for Minneapolis’ boys hockey team - making the trip to the MSHSL Boys State Hockey Tournament for the first time since 1994.

A sterling resume for the state of hockey except for one thing. 

Dziedzic never got the chance to play the state tournament, but this week he gets to coach in one with a Minneapolis team he helped to revitalize.

"I’m excited, and I think it’s kind of a bucket list thing," Dziedzic said. "Here I am a long time later and to coach this team that’s heading to the state tournament, it feels pretty good."

"It’s something we hope he remembers for the rest of his life, just because of how much he’s helped us create memories for ourselves," Minneapolis senior forward Zander Zoia said of his head coach.

One generation leading the next. One now wanting to provide their own spark. 

"I think it’ll encourage kids to stay home (in Minneapolis) instead of going out to the private schools," Minneapolis senior forward Evan Grimm said. "It gives more kids hope that there will be better teams like this in the future."

A feel good story for a team that feels it has a chance to add to an already historic run. 

"You got to be who you are," Dziedzic said. "You have to play the game that you’ve played all season."

Minneapolis will play Alexandria in the Class A Quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.