Time For A Multi-State High School Hockey Tournament?
If you asked me what my favorite part of hockey was besides the Stanley Cup playoffs, I’d tell you the Memorial Cup without a moment’s hesitation. All that hockey played in the three CHL-governed leagues up until that point and then you get to try and play for the national championship! I’m a little jealous, though, that the Canadians have all the fun with it. That lead me to thinking, maybe it’s time for an equivalent tournament at the American high school level.
High school hockey is, of course, a big deal in the northern states. In fact, the Minnesota boys and girls state hockey championships sell out the Xcel Center year in and year out (that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how hockey-crazed the entire state is). But what if that kind of fervor could be replicated by a yearly tournament that pits the state championship teams against each other? I’m not talking some random inter-state tournament, either, but rather a massive undertaking. The Varsity Cup, perhaps.
First, a national board would need to be established to oversee the tournament and keep an eye on the state playoffs of all involved. They would handle all organizational, promotional, and officiating duties.
Imagine it – 16 teams in four randomly-selected groups that battle to send their champion to the winner-take-all final tourney. Each group tournament would be hosted by one of the teams in the group and the host would rotate yearly to spread the excitement around, and the final tourney would be played in a pre-selected city. Picture special banners hanging from lamp posts in each host city, fans traveling and attending to cheer on their state in a far-flung arena (especially if the school is one from their city), and the triumph of hoisting that cup and knowing your varsity squad is the best of the best.
Throw Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Missouri into this thing, and watch the magic happen.