Years ago, hockey legend Willard Ikola visited his hometown of Eveleth and was listening to local bar patrons pondering what happened to the former hockey dynasty.
"One of them said, 'When the Eveleth boys went and married Virginia girls, that's what screwed up Eveleth hockey — all the mixed marriages with Virginia,'" Ikola said.
Ikola had those and many other Golden Bears faithful on his mind last week, when administrators at Eveleth and nearby Virginia announced the consolidated school districts would be known as Rock Ridge and its sports teams would be the Wolverines. The new high school is set to open in 2021-22.
"I'm sure a lot of Eveleth people turned over in their graves," Ikola said with a laugh. "And vice versa with Virginia."
Ikola harbors no ill will. In a bit of irony, his sister married a Virginia boy.
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