Thirty different Minnesota-born players have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup as NHL champions, per this list from Vintage Hockey that looks to be quite comprehensive.
But only three of them have earned the right to have their names put on the Cup three times: Bill Nyrop of Edina, who was on three Cup-winning Montreal teams in the 1970s; St. Paul’s Dave Langevin, who won four in a row with the Islanders in the early 1980s; and now Matt Cullen, the timeless 40-year-old who won a Cup in 2006 with Carolina and just went back-to-back with the Penguins.
I’ve been watching Cullen play for more than half a lifetime, when his Moorhead High teams in the mid-1990s were routinely the hardest games on the schedule for my high school, Grand Forks Central. He and I, in fact, are only three days apart in age.
But there is no hometown nostalgia involved when acknowledging that on the long and impressive list of Minnesotans to win the Cup, Cullen has to be very near the top. Cullen has 56 points in 123 career playoff games and played a huge role in Sunday’s clincher for Pittsburgh. In the last 30 years, only one other Minnesota-born player has won multiple cups: Cloquet’s Jamie Langenbrunner.
Just for fun, here are a few pictures through the years of some of those Minnesotans who hoisted the greatest trophy in sports:
So, Minnesota: who will be the next native to win a Cup?