HMPioneers.net is an alumni-operated site dedicated to chronicling the tradition of Hill-Murray boys hockey. The team has been active since 1960 and this site since 1999. Hill-Murray boasts one of the strongest high school hockey programs in Minnesota, with six state championships and numerous regional and conference titles.
Congratulations to three alumni who have made Division 1 college debuts in 2022: Charlie Strobel (Minnesota), Lucas Wahlin (St. Thomas), and Brett Oberle (Air Force).
2023 Season Page and 2023 Playoffs
Hill-Murray is the 2023 Section 4AA Champion
Four in a row and 18 consecutive section final appearances
Hill-Murray is the 2023 State Consolation Champion
Historical notes: this was the school's first consolation title in 45 years. The consolation semi 3OT win was the second longest game in school history by elapsed time, 78:09. Hill-Murray added to its all-time state tournament record total by playing in the 20th and 21st overtime times in program history. The 2023 Pioneers also tied a school record by playing in seven overtime games in one season (also done in 2020), but fell one short of the 2022 team's record four overtime victories.
Video Highlights of the state quarterfinal
Hockey Day at White Bear Lake
Video Highlights of the 2023 WBL game
Regardless of the outcome, the outdoor game between White Bear Lake and Hill-Murray on January 28 will be a memorable addition to their legendary hockey rivalry that began 60 years ago. The schools have played 90 previous head-to-head games, with another 4 between Hill-Murray and White Bear Mariner. Here is a look back at some of the classics:
White Bear Lake 2, Hill 0
January 3, 1963 at Aldrich Arena
At the time, this was little more than another midseason non-conference game that nobody knew would be the start of a great hockey rivalry. It was however played at the brand new Aldrich Arena, which was in its first season of hosting games, and would eventually become the home rink for both schools for several decades.
Hill-Murray 4, White Bear Mariner 3 (2OT Section Final)
March 8, 1980 at St Paul Auditorium
Hill-Murray had won all of its previous 24 games, mostly by large margins, while third-seeded Mariner had edged White Bear Lake in overtime in the section quarterfinal. Mariner jumped out to a 3-1 second period lead in the final, but a shorthanded goal by Sean Regan halved the deficit, and Dan Dolan’s goal in the second overtime gave Hill-Murray a 4-3 win. Hill-Murray won its first two tournament games to stretch its win streak to 27, but was stopped by Jon Casey and Grand Rapids 2-1 in the state championship game.
White Bear Lake 4, Hill-Murray 2
December 29, 1983 at Met Center
In 1983, Hill-Murray did complete a perfect season, and next season extended their win streak to 33 games entering the first annual Edina Holiday Classic. That ended with a 4-2 loss to White Bear Lake which had merged with Mariner for the 1983-84 school year.
White Bear Lake 4, Hill-Murray 3 (2OT Section Semifinal)
February 22, 1989 at Coliseum
The Bears defeated the Pioneers for the first time in postseason play on a goal by Jeff Maas in the second overtime, despite being outshot 41-23, ending Hill-Murray’s six year reign as section champions.
Hill-Murray 4, White Bear Lake 3 (Section Final)
March 1, 1991 at Met Center
When Brian Bonin scored in the second period, the Bears led 3-0, but Hill-Murray scored four unanswered goals, the last coming off the stick of Jim Young with under three minutes to go. The Pioneers went on to win the last one-class state tournament the following week.
White Bear Lake 4, Hill-Murray 3 (OT Section Semifinal)
February 28, 1996 at Coliseum
The most improbable upset in the series occured when the sub-500 Bears defeated the 22-1 Pioneers, eliminating Hill-Murray from the playoffs for the third straight year. Hill-Murray erased a two goal deficit in the third period, but freshman Shawn Roed scored two goals including the winner for the Bears in overtime.
Hill-Murray 2, White Bear Lake 0 (Section Final)
March 3, 2000 at Coliseum
Hill-Murray got a bit of revenge after a string of upset losses in the 1990s. The Bears had won the Twin Cities Suburban conference for the first time since 1991, including two regular season wins over Hill-Murray, but goalie Dan Kehler shut out the Bears and a late empty net goal sealed a 2-0 win for the Pioneers.
Hill-Murray 5, White Bear Lake 4 (2OT Section Final)
March 3, 2006 at Coliseum
Another powerhouse Hill-Murray team (25-1-1) faced a stiff test from White Bear Lake (17-8-2) in a seesaw game in which the Pioneers scored three goals to start the second period but found themselves trailing 4-3 by the second intermission. Hill-Murray rallied and won the game when Bryant Skarda tipped in Derek McCallum’s long shot in the second overtime, ending their three year absence from the state tournament.
White Bear Lake 5, Hill-Murray 4 (2OT Section Final)
March 4, 2011 at Coliseum
Hill-Murray entered the section final with 16 straight wins and 5 straight section championships, but the Bears took the lead in the first minute of the game at built it to 4-1 with 10 minutes left in the third. The Pioneers stormed back with three goals and hit the post in the first overtime, only to watch Mac Jansen win it for the Bears in the second overtime.
Hill-Murray 3, White Bear Lake 2 (Section Final)
February 28, 2020 at Aldrich Arena
After falling behind 2-0, Hill-Murray scored three unanswered goals, the last coming shorthanded off the stick of Nick Pierre, the second year in a row that the section final winning goal was shorthanded. Despite the seemingly high number of comebacks, this was actually the first time since 2004 in this rivalry that a team came back from a two-goal deficit and won the game. Hill-Murray never trailed again in the 2020 season, and won three state tournament games and the last high school sports championship awarded that school year.