Minnesota High School Boys Hockey
Private schools hosted their own state tournaments for 26 years prior to joining the high school league in 1974. Formats and venues changed several times. The Minnesota Prep School Tournament was held for the first time in 1949, four years after the inaugural public school tournament. It matched the top four teams from the Central Catholic Conference against the top four teams from the Minnesota Independent School League. In its first 12 years, Cretin won the championship ten times and St. Thomas Academy two times.
Playoff Scores by Year
The State Catholic Tournament was held from 1965 through 1969. The top six teams from the Central Catholic Conference made the field. Duluth Cathedral and Crookston Cathedral were automatically entered. Duluth Cathedral was the champion all five years.
The Catholic Tournament was replaced by the State Independent Tournament which also ran five years. Initially, the eight team field included four schools from the CCC, two from the MISL, plus Duluth Cathedral and Crookston Cathedral. Beginning in 1971, playoffs were introduced to determine the teams from the St. Paul and Minneapolis regions. In 1974, all entries were determined by playoffs.
Independent tournament data is courtesy Jim Just. Jim has also provided the Section 3 scores up to 1979 and verified scores for other years. Primary sources for all information here are newspaper accounts and playoff/tournament programs.
In 1975, private schools were admitted to the MSHSL and the playoffs produced a single state champion. The one-class format lasted thru 1991, when it was replaced by a two-tier system with the first 8 seeds in each section playing Tier I and the remainder Tier II. In 1994, a two class system based on enrollment was instituted. Schools in the smaller (Class A) classification could opt up to Class AA.
From 1975 to 1999, 3765 total games are listed. Scores are known for all but 16 of them. An additional 22 teams were listed by the MSHSL as participating schools in a given year, but I have not been able to find a scheduled playoff game for the school. 8 of those 22 almost certainly played a game (all in 1978-1979 Sections 7 and 8). The remaining 14 were usually programs in their infancy and may or may not have actually played out the season or participated in playoffs.
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