Five once-powerful metro high school boys’ hockey programs that have disbanded or merged with other schools because of declining numbers:
1. Richfield: The Spartans reached the old one-class tournament six times between 1962 and ’91, reaching the title game in 1976. The program disbanded this season when only 10 players tried out.
Goalie Brad Shelstad at a celebration after Southwest won the 1970 state tournament.
2. Southwest and Roosevelt: The two Minneapolis City Conference schools combined for 23 one-class state tournament berths from 1951 to ’80, and Southwest won the 1970 single-tournament title. Roosevelt produced three prominent NHL players before the program was disbanded in 1997: Reed Larson, Mike Ramsey and Russ Anderson. Minneapolis now has one combined high school program for its seven schools.
Paul Holmgren went from Harding High to a career in the NHL.
3. St. Paul Harding: The Knights made eight one-class state tournament appearances, second in the St. Paul City Conference to Johnson’s 21 trips. Harding reached the 1958 title game, losing 1-0 to Roseau. Alums include NHL tough guy Paul Holmgren. The Knights have no players currently, so no co-op.
Columbia Heights goalie Reggie Miracle during his team's upset of Edina during the 1983 state tournament.
4. Columbia Heights: The Hylanders were a power in all sports in the 1970s and ’80s, and made it to their only state hockey tournament in 1983 by beating Cloquet 5-4 in double overtime in the section final. The Hylanders ousted Edina in the opening round before losing in the semis. The school currently co-ops with Irondale, but Heights had only one player on the varsity team.
Cooper High School practices in 1981.
5. Cooper: The Hawks never reached the state tournament, largely because they had the misfortune of playing in tough Region VI, where they lost four times to Edina and twice to Edina East in the 1980s alone. Cooper reached the 1979 Region VI final, losing to Edina East. The Hawks were almost always competitive, and produced NHL players Lance Pitlick and Jim Johnson before merging with longtime rival Armstrong in 2014.