Some of the best contests in Minnesota State High School hockey tourney history has been between the metro schools and those out-state hockey programs. Up north vs twin cities has become the backbone of Minnesota hockey culture.
When storied programs have taken the ice rivalries have been born. The spirit of this rivalry will play out again this weekend, but not on the ice of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where The Tourney ’19 will take place in a few months. It will be here in our very own Essential Health Sport Center, Home of the Brainerd Warriors. The North-South Classic is a four-team tournament, which debuted last season. It features Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Eden Prairie heading to Brainerd for games with the host Warriors and Hermantown. The games are scheduled for Dec. 7-8 at the Essentia Health Sports Center.
Eden Prairie and Hermantown play the first game at 6 p.m. Friday followed by Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Brainerd. On Saturday, Eden Prairie plays Brainerd at 12:30 p.m. with Benilde-St. Margaret’s facing Hermantown after that.
For teams like Brainerd and Hermantown getting on a bus and traveling a couple hours to play a hockey game is part of being in out-state programs. For the metro teams they don’t often get lengthy road trips since most of their competitors are within a few miles of each other. So for them to make the trip up north to play is certainly an event.
Last year Eden Prairie hosted the inaugural classic. The Brainerd Warriors split with a win over Benilde-St. Margaret’s and a loss to Eden Prairie.