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Feb 15-16-17, 1945 St. Paul Auditorium

1945 State Tournament Leading Scorers

Player Team Goals Assists Total Points
Wally Grant Eveleth 9 4 13
Pat Finnegan Eveleth 8 5 13


In the first boys' hockey tournament, Eveleth raced into the championship game by outscoring the opposition 26-0.  But the final against Thief River Falls was an entirely different story.  The Golden Bears, champions of Region 7, needed two third-period goals to rally past the Region 8 champion for a 4-3 victory.  Eveleth built a two-goal lead, but Thief River Falls responded with three unanswered goals with one period to play.  Eveleth senior Wally Grant had the two final goals for the Golden Bears.  Grant led all scorers during the tournament with nine goals.



  • Gene Aldrich, St. Paul Athletic Director for both the Junior & Senior high schools served in his position from 1936-1959.  In February of 1944, Aldrich began working with the MSHSL to get backing behind the scenes; primarily from Elmer Engelbert for the countries 1st ever State High School Hockey Tournament.  The League didn't actually operate, control or finance the Tournament until 1946 - thus the inaugural Tourney was state-sanctioned, but not operated by the League.
  • White Bear Lake's George Kiefer scored the first goal in state tournament history, scored at 9:29 of the 1st period in a 3-2 loss to Thief River Falls in the quarterfinals.  His historic unassisted goal was scored against T.R.F. goaltender Ralph Engelstad.  Yes, that Ralph of University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux lore.
  • The state tournament field corresponded to the geographic regions in Minnesota then in place for boys' basketball, except for Region 2, which included the suburbs of St. Paul.
  • From 1945-1956 rosters for teams were set at 12 players.  In 1957 the number was increased to 15.  In 1944-45, there were just 26 teams in the State registered to play Varsity ice hockey.
  • Staples hockey program folded after the 1947 season
  • An estimated 4,000 fans attended the final day of the tournament.
  • The triumphant Golden Bears from Eveleth, nicknamed the award winning trophy: 'Bozo'.
  • Tournament Attendance: 8,956

Rochester - Region 1

Roster Position Number
Del Thurber D 71
Rex Nelson D 62
Warren Talmo C 47
Clark Wilder G 50
Robert Kreter D 59
Frederick Weber W 61
David Postier W 54
Alan Gilkinson C 66
David Alexander W 55
Ray Purves W 60
Dale Gray W 65
Donald French D 58
Robert Gilbertson Manager
Clifford Monsrud Head Coach
Francis Toomey Assistant Coach

White Bear Lake - Region 2

Roster Position Number
Gordon Vadnais D 82
Martin LeVasseur G 61
Leonard Johnson G 78
George Kieffer D 77
James LeVasseur C 79
Eugene Cunningham D 41
James Henkel W 81
Robert Shearen C 74
William Wygant D 47
Hugh Heckel W 71
John Resler W 80
James Shearen W 73
R.P. (Dick) Bradley Coach

Granite Falls - Region 3

Roster Position Number
Cecil Klingbile W
Berdell Brevig C
Gorman Velde G
Jack Beckman D
Virgil Knutsen W
James Field C
Luvern Hanson W
Jewel Rakke D
Quinten Sebey D
Kenneth Johnson W
Gordon Formo D
Larry Darby W
Philip Minelli Coach

St. Paul Washington - Region 4

Roster Position Number
Frank Macioch W
Jack Graham D
Jack Okoneski G
Steve Andert W
Jim Salwasser W
Julius Struntz C
Ed Krieger D
Jack McManus C
Gerald Kegley W
George Huber D
John Jacks G 58
Art Graiziger W
John Lackner Coach

St. Cloud Tech - Region 5

Roster Position Number
Fred Ladner W
Gerald Henkemeyer C
Ronald Harry D
John Streeter G
Frank Pickard D
Donald Helgeson W
William Clark C
Jerome Jacobson D
Sylvester Weiman W
Harry Ervin W
Richard West D
Blake Jaskowiak W
Vern Morrison Coach

Staples - Region 6

Roster Postion Number
Wayne Stewart C 41
Emory Dupre G
Anthony Langer W 36
Allen Johnson D 33
Donald Eddy W 27
Benjamin Baker D 31
Richard Bacon D 24
William Finn D 21
Ronald Thompson G 26
Wayne Koski Coach

Image Courtesy Martinson Family Archive

Image Courtesy Ikola Family Archive

Eveleth - Region 7

Roster Position Number
Patrick Finnegan C
Wallace Grant W
Neil Celley W
Ronald Drobnick G 60
Andre Gambucci W 59
Melvin Peterson D
Clem Cossalter D
Milan Begich W
Bice Ventrucci W
Garfield Gulbranson D
Ronald Martinson C
Roy Ikola G 35
George Campbell Manager
Cliff R. Thompson Coach

Thief River Falls - Region 8

Roster Position Number
Lester Vigness C
Wesley Hovie W
Lloyd Johnson C
Ralph Engelstad G
Robert Baker D
James Doyle D
Derwood Lund W
Alan Thompson D
James Welch D
Donald Brossoit W
Donald Hage W
Connie Stanbride Head Coach
Darwin Ferrier Assistant Coach