Synonymous with the sport of Ice Hockey, the small mining town of Eveleth Minnesota has come to be known around the country as the "Hockey Capital of the United States," due to its incredible ability to produce numerous elite players in the first half of the 20th century. Located 60 miles north of Duluth, and 100 miles south of the Canadian border, this small town of under 5,000 residents has contributed more to American hockey than any other city in the country. The sport of hockey is estimated to have been played in the town of Eveleth since 1902. With one hundred years of hockey tradition, this town has many stories that could fill numerous pages of text, but one in particular stands out.
The 1928-1929 Eveleth Junior College hockey team, who was comprised entirely of Eveleth players, was the number one ranked college hockey team in the nation, ahead of teams such as Yale, Minnesota, Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth. So good was this junior college team that it was considered by the United States Olympic Committee to represent the United States in the 1928 Winter Olympic Games in Amsterdam, Holland. However, due to a lack of financial funding, Eveleth Junior College respectfully declined the invitation to serve as the US Olympic hockey team, and the United States consequently was not represented in the 1928 Winter Games.
Eveleth Hippodrome: "The Hipp"
Since 1922, the Eveleth Hippodrome has been the home of many Eveleth hockey greats including John Mayasich and John Mariucci. Since the first day it opened its doors to the 3,000 spectators who witnessed the Eveleth Reds defeat the Duluth Hornets, the Eveleth Hippodrome has been regarded as an icy masterpiece and was soon recognized throughout the state as the "Madison Square Garden of the Northland."
The "Hipp" is still in service today, and is the proud bearer of 7 Minnesota State High School Hockey Championship title banners
Eveleth: The Capital of American Hockey
Possibly the most telling sign that Eveleth is indeed the Capital of American hockey is the fact that it is home to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Eveleth was chosen for its unique hockey history and incredible contributions to the sport. This nonprofit organization was chartered in 1968, and for over 30 years the Hall of Fame has stood as a symbol of the great hockey tradition in Eveleth.
Eveleth Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee's:
Nearly ten percent of the Hall of Fame's inductee's are from Eveleth, representing more players than from any other city. Those 11 individuals are:
Sam LoPresti - Oscar Almquist - John Matchefts - Wally Grant - Frank Brimsek - John Mayasich - Willard Ikola - Serge Gambucci - Mike Karakas - John Mariucci - Connie Pleban
The "BIG STICK"
Located downtown, another landmark stands tall as a symbol of Eveleth's great hockey tradition, that of the world's largest hockey stick. The shaft of the stick measures an incredible 15" thick by 22" wide by 90' long, while the blade is 4" thick by 66" wide by 17' long. Next to the stick is a built-to-scale hockey puck that is 5' by 20" and weighs approximately 700 pounds.
Built in Warroad Minnesota by Christian Brothers Inc., the stick was donated to the city of Eveleth on September 7th 1995. Utilizing the identical process used to build their standard size hockey sticks, Christian Brothers constructed the 107 foot "Big Stick" from white and yellow aspen with a finished weight of 7,000 pounds.
On July 3rd 2001, the "Big Stick" was removed due to material degradation and structural integrity. Since then a redsigned stick has been constructed using treated lumber laminated with adhesives used in exterior plywood construction applications.