There was a time when only two Division 1 Men’s college hockey teams in Minnesota: the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Beginning in the 1960’s these two schools developed a fierce rivalry as Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes, and similar to the Paul Bunyan Axe or the Little Brown Jug in college football, the Gophers and Bulldogs fought for a trophy as well.
Each year, the winner of the season series (in those days, they always played four regular season games), would take home the charmingly ugly Taconite Trophy. The trophy was another wrinkle added to a fierce rivalry between two proud hockey traditions featuring a whole bunch of Minnesota natives on both sides.
Somewhere along the way, perhaps after more Minnesota schools fielded Division 1 teams, the trophy was lost to the ages. Despite significant efforts to find it, nobody affiliated with the Gophers, Bulldogs or hockey in general knows where it is.
There are only a few scant references to it by doing a Google search, but trust us, it existed!
So it’s time to bring it back! We figured that with the inception of our CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance Tier 1 Fall Leagues that feature rosters entirely made up of Minnesotans, the ultimate prize should be a symbol of the proud heritage of the State of Hockey. Now, instead of college kids battling from two colleges battling for the trophies, youngsters from Minnesota will now have the honor.
Nothing will replace the original Taconite Trophy (and if you know where it is, please let us know), so we did the best we could to come up with a cup that is reminiscent. It’s not the same, but we did our best to capture the trophy that is simultaneously ugly and beautiful at the same time.