MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The boys high school hockey tournament starts on Wednesday, and this one is a big milestone – the 75th year. As David McCoy tells us, it’s also a big milestone for two of its biggest fans.
Scott Martinson and Charley Spilker have been friends since middle school. Though they went to different high schools – Scott to Minneapolis Southwest and Charley to St. Paul Johnson – there’s one thing they’ve always had in common. They have attended the boys hockey tournament every year since 1970.
Their first was as soon as they were old enough to drive. After all, both their schools were in it.
“Southwest won, and they beat Edina. And that’s no small rivalry, especially back in the day,” Martinson said.
“After that point, it was like, we were bitten. Had the bug,” Spilker said.
Of all the memories one makes in 50 years, their favorites?
“Over the years, I think, the David and Goliath battles,” Spilker said. “I think it was 1977, Rochester John Marshall beat Edina in the finals. I don’t think they thought they had a chance.”
“Half of the town of Roseau had to be staying in the hotel,” Martinson said. “And when the team came walking in, at 11:30 that night after winning the whole thing, the entire hotel was out on the railing, giving them a standing O, and that was just pretty cool.”
Twenty years into their tradition, it faced its first curveball when Spilker moved to Portland in 1989.
“My wife’s family is from Oregon, which is the reason we moved, and we negotiated upfront that I would happily move, be near my in-laws, but I was gonna make this trip every year, regardless,” Spilker said.
The magic of this tournament just keeps them coming back.
“For me, it’s just the amount of amazing players we’ve seen over the years,” Spilker said.
“And every time we go, it’s, ‘Who’s gonna be the shining star this year?’ And we’ve seen some pretty amazing feats,” Martinson added.
“It makes you feel like Minnesota hockey is pretty amazing, really,” Spilker said.