By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s that time of year when Minnesota comes together to celebrate high school hockey.

The first day of the boy’s state hockey tournament got underway Wednesday in St. Paul.

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Thousands of hockey fans made it to Xcel Energy Center early, to get in line to purchase the hottest ticket in town.

“Typically we haven’t had a hard time getting tickets for the single-A first round, it gets harder as the weekend goes by,” Bill Haydon explained.

It’s that time of year when tradition and family go hand in hand.

“It’s really fun,” said Andrew Haydon. “Its like a great experience because Hockey means so much to Minnesota.”

Andrew Haydon is part of three generations of Haydon, who make the boy’s state hockey tournament a family tradition.

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“My parents come down from Hermantown because they’ve had a good run the past decade or so,” explained Bill Haydon. “My son is obviously a big hockey fan so this is really a family outing. We come every year without fail.”

Tauer and his buddy Nolan came from Little Falls to watch. They enjoy the game almost as much as the victory celebration at the end.

“Minnesota is the state of hockey so it’s just fun coming every year, watching different teams play, watching them throw the gloves and the sticks in the air after they win the championship, that’s pretty cool to watch,” Nolan Bjorge said.

For 50 years, Bart Tisk has used his voice to sell programs and merchandise at the state tournament. He welcomes new fans as well as those he’s seen over the past half-century.

“We get some people who are here all the time, we have some collectors come in that have programs from way back before I even started selling them,” Tisk said.

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What he won’t have to sell these fans on, is how special a day at the state tournament is.

Reg Chapman