Putting Mr. Hockey In His Rightful Place

March 9, 2012

Who wouldn't want this dreamboat more involved in Minnesota life: Nick Checco, 1993 Mr. Hockey for Bloomington Jefferson, and husband of our own Allison Checco.

The Minnesota state high school hockey tournament is once more upon us, and that’s the perfect opportunity to talk about a shamefully underused natural resource here in our great state: our growing supply of Mr. Hockeys.

Every year since 1985, one puck star has been chosen as Mr. Hockey: the best of the best, the official representative of the State of Hockey. (In 1993, that honor went to Bloomington Jefferson’s Nick Checco, who later married our own Allison Checco.)

They get a trophy of some sorts, their name in the paper and an occasional shout-out around tourney time. But shouldn’t there be more?

If hockey is the game that represents the true character of Minnesota, and these young men represent the best of hockey, then why wouldn’t we want them to continue representing us as they progress through life? We’re wasting a lot of great manhood here.

I think we need to incorporate our Mr. Hockeys into Minnesota life in a structured, ongoing way. A few ideas:

  • Set aside two seats in the state House of Representatives to be filled by Mr. Hockeys on a rotating basis.
  • Create a special branch of the judicial system, “Hockey Court,” to hear any non-fatal case arising from a bar fight. A Mr. Hockey will serve as presiding magistrate.
  • Kick off each hockey season with a Mr. Hockey Opener, just as we kick off the fishing season with the Governor’s Opener.
  • Include a Mr. Hockey as a regular panelist on public television’s “Almanac.” Just imagine this from Cathy Wurzer: “And now we turn to Mr. Hockey Tom Chorske for his thoughts on the highway bill.”
  • Naturally, Mr. Hockey should have an official role in major community celebrations, such as the Aquatennial, the St. Paul Winter Carnival and all Fourth of July fireworks spectaculars.

We’ve got a couple dozen Mr. Hockeys right now, with a new one added every year. They’re in the prime of life. Let’s not squander them.