Bruce Kruger grew up in Faribault, MN where he met his life-long sweetheart, Patricia Kruger. He attended Harvard University and the University of Minnesota Law School. He worked as an attorney in private practice for many years in both Duluth and Minneapolis, MN, and then went on to work as a Probate Referee for Hennepin County for nearly two decades.
Known for his firm yet fair and kind demeanor, Bruce had a vibrant passion for hockey and connecting with people that fueled over 45 years of service as a youth hockey volunteer.
Bruce’s first involvement with ice hockey came as a youth coach while he lived in Duluth. Upon moving to the Minnetonka area, Bruce continued coaching for six more seasons before moving into administrative roles as a team manager and then as the association’s travel team coordinator.
As his own kids graduated the youth and high school levels, Bruce also moved on, agreeing to serve as the Assistant Director for District 6 in the early 1990’s. Shortly thereafter, Bruce became involved in forming the Metro Hockey League (MHL) for Junior Gold (formerly Juvenile) players.
From the moment he got involved with Junior Gold hockey, Bruce was enthralled with the idea of providing that age group of young men had a viable and well-respected league to play in. Bruce played an instrumental role initially launching the league, as well as developing the Metro League All-Star Game and the Wes Barrett and 19U scholarship programs. Although his official title was Treasurer, Bruce provided leadership and guidance to the MHL in numerous areas, including serving on the Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors.
Only a couple of years after joining the Metro Hockey League, Bruce also agreed to serve as the Minnesota District Risk Manager for USA Hockey, which he would serve as for over 20 years. Shortly thereafter, he also got involved when Minnesota Hockey’s Screening Committee. Bruce was adamant that youth players in Minnesota have a safe environment to enjoy this great game in.
Even though his responsibilities grew over time, Bruce never lost his passion for the Metro Hockey League. Bruce believed this level of hockey was more about learning life skills rather than gaining hockey skills and providing the right environment for these players would make our community better off down the road.
It would be hard to find someone more passionate about the game of ice hockey than Bruce. His unwavering integrity, unique sense of humor and his relentless pursuit of providing a safe and fun hockey experience left a positive impact on everyone he interacted with.
The prestigious Don Clark Award is presented by Minnesota Hockey to an individual who over a period of many years has been dedicated to the grassroots growth and development of youth hockey in Minnesota.