Larry Hendrickson had a long and successful career in hockey.
In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, he worked at the junior, high school, college and professional levels.
He coached teams to a junior national championship and a high school state championship. But his last hockey-related role brought him the most satisfaction. In 2010, he started the Hendrickson Foundation to help children with disabilities play hockey and support sled hockey, special hockey and military hockey in Minnesota.
“There is no question he was the driving force behind the foundation,” said his son, Danny Hendrickson, “and even though he had been sick the last few years, his energy was devoted to it. He said [the foundation] was the greatest thing he did in hockey.”
Larry Hendrickson died of heart failure June 15 at his home in Richfield. He was 75.
“Larry and I were friends; he had been my assistant [at Buffalo High School],” said Mike MacMillan, who works for USA Hockey. “We went to a festival in Blaine and watched sled hockey. Larry talked to some athletes, and it was like a light bulb went off. It has been his passion since then. He hasn’t taken his foot off the gas since, with fundraising and helping [make] hockey possible for everyone. He will be remembered for his important work with the foundation.”
Larry Hendrickson was born in Minneapolis on Oct. 20, 1942, to Joseph, a sportswriter for the Minneapolis Star, and Lorraine Hendrickson.
He attended Minneapolis Washburn High School, where he lettered in football and hockey. The Millers football team won 23 consecutive games during Hendrickson’s three years on the varsity squad and was named the “mythical” state champion by the Minneapolis Tribune in 1959. The Millers hockey team reached the state tournament in 1959, finishing second, and in 1960, winning the consolation title.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he earned a master’s degree from St. Thomas. After college, Hendrickson and his wife, Jane, settled in Richfield, where they raised four children.
His first success as a coach was in 1968, when he led the St. Paul Vulcans, a Junior-A hockey team, to their first national championship. He then worked for USA and Minnesota Hockey putting on player clinics, select camps, and coaches’ certification clinics.
In the early 1970s, Hendrickson started teaching at Richfield High School and became the Spartans’ hockey coach in 1973. The Spartans reached the championship game of the state tournament in 1976.
He served as strength and conditioning coach for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team. That year, he became the coach at Apple Valley High School, and the Eagles reached the state tournament in 1981. During the 1980s he also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Gophers and North Stars.
He returned to coach Apple Valley in 1990s, directing the Eagles to a state championship in 1996. He later had coaching stints at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Buffalo high schools. He is a member of three Halls of Fame (Richfield, Washburn and state hockey coaches).
Sons Darby, who played 14 years in the NHL and is an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild, and Danny both played college hockey for the Gophers. In addition to them and his wife, Hendrickson is survived by two daughters, Christine Krsnik and Julie Oss, and 12 grandchildren.
“In his 75 years, he impacted so many people,” said Danny Hendrickson. “He always tried to help people.”
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Av. S., Minneapolis.