We've all met one: the provincial Minnesota hockey fan. Oh they of the "Jeff Taffe is clearly a better option than Dany Heatley" simply because Taffe is from Minnesota. The problem is, they aren't completely wrong. Minnesota has produced, and continues to produce, a fair number of pro hockey players, and a good numbers of star hockey players.
Would I ever dream of trying to field an NHL team of nothing but Minnesotans? Perhaps get Doug Woog as the coach? No. Not a chance. I care more about how good they are at playing hockey than I do about where they were born. Is anyone truly ready to dump Mikko Koivu just because he wasn't born in Hibbing? Come on now.
Still, when the release came from Let's Play Hockey about the growing number of Minnesotans playing professional hockey, I thought you might all like to see the numbers. For your perusal. After the jump.
- 225 Minnesotans have played at least one professional hockey game during the 2011-12 season
- 205 men, 20 women
- Three more Minnesotans are on rosters, but have not played due to injury
- 43 Minnesotans have played in the NHL this season
- 43 Minnesotans have played in the AHL this season
- 56 have played in other various minor pro teams through out North America
- 63 Minnesotans have laced up their skates in pro leagues in Europe, Asia, and Australia
- 117 forwards, 93 d-men, and 15 goalies
- 15 Minnesotans were drafted by NHL teams at the draft in June, four in the first three rounds
- 25 Minnesotans are on the "players to watch" list from the NHL's Central Scouting for next year's draft
- 71 non-Minnesotans that played college hockey in Minnesota have also played pro hockey this season
Impressive numbers, to be sure. So, Wilderness... who is your favorite Minnesota born player (current or former)? Favorite player with ties to Minnesota?