MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Christmas means a variety of different things for different people. For most of us, it means getting together with family, enjoying some egg nog and opening presents around the tree.
It’s also one of the busiest times of the year for high school coaches, athletes and bus drivers. The only time of the year that rivals post-Christmas tournament time in high school sports is the March tournament time. Over the course of the next 10 days to two weeks, virtually every winter high school varsity sport will compete in a tournament somewhere.
For athletes, it’s a fun time to get out and travel, play somebody you might not otherwise face and even get in a little team bonding time away from school. It’s also hectic for coaches who are planning travel schedules, meetings and meals, as well as parents who have to juggle multiple schedules to watch their kids play.
In some instances, you could get previews of what’s to come in March if some of the best teams in the state square off right after Christmas. Here’s a look at a glance of some the best after Christmas holiday tournaments.
Boys Hockey: Schwan Cup Holiday Classic
If you want to see some of the best boys high school hockey in the state before the sport takes over Xcel Energy Center in March, head to the National Sports Center in Blaine this weekend for the Schwan Cup. The tournament features 32 teams in four divisions, headlined by both of last year’s state champions in Edina (AA) and St. Thomas Academy (A). The gold division, which will be played at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus, is loaded with Breck, Hill-Murray and Duluth East. The other divisions will all be played at the Schwan Super Rink at the National Sports Center.
Boys Basketball: Granite City Classic
The best team in Minnesota, led by star point guard Tyus Jones, will be in St. Cloud this weekend for the Granite City Classic on Friday and Saturday. Apple Valley headlines a showcase that includes Stillwater, Champlin Park, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Rocori and Roseville among several teams. A little closer to the Twin Cities are a pair of tournaments that will attract plenty of attention. Hopkins is hosting its annual tournament with Edina, St. Thomas Academy, Eden Prairie and Maple Grove among several top teams. Over in St. Paul, the University of St. Thomas is hosting its annual Catholic Spirit Tournament. That’s headlined by Cretin-Derham Hall but also includes Hill-Murray, Holy Angels and Rosemount.
Girls Basketball: Hopkins Hosts Dick’s Sporting Goods Classic
One of the best post-Christmas tournaments for girls basketball in Minnesota is the Dick’s Sporting Goods Classic, hosted by Hopkins at the Lindbergh Center. The Royals host a loaded tournament which includes Minnetonka, Osseo, Anoka, Prior Lake and Bloomington Kennedy.
Wrestling: Rochester Hosts The Clash National Duals
It’s actually not until early January, but many of the best high school wrestlers in the country will be in Rochester for The Clash National High School Duals. Last year, St. Michael-Albertville won the prestigious tournament on the way to tying Apple Valley for the state championship. Both teams are back this year, with others from Minnesota including Totino-Grace, Jackson County Central, Kasson-Mantorville, Hastings, Prior Lake and New Prague. You’re not going to find much better competition on a wrestling mat than what will be on display Jan. 3-4 in Rochester.
Girls Hockey: Eden Prairie Tournament
The Schwan Cup will grab many of the headlines from holiday hockey tournaments, but one of the best for girls hockey this week will be the Eden Prairie Tournament. The Eagles host a field that includes Minnetonka, Chaska/Chanhassen, Eagan, Cretin-Derham Hall, Andover, Roseau and Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
There’s plenty of post-holiday tournament action all over Minnesota this weekend wherever you are headed, so grab a map and fill up that gas tank. It should be a competitive and entertaining weekend as top talents from around Minnesota compete for trophies.