‘Tourney Time’ chronicles the Minn. Boys State Hockey Tournament

Book ‘Tourney Time’ chronicles the Minn. Boys State Hockey Tournament

Talking with the authors of ‘Tourney Time’ as the Minnesota Boys' State Hockey Tournament approaches.

Tourney Time is back on Wednesday, and a book by the same title has been update in time for the 2024 Minnesota Boys State Hockey Tournament.

David LaVaque, the high school hockey reporter for the Star Tribune, and L. R. Nelson, founder of Legacy.Hockey, wrote it together.

“It was (David’s) idea because of the 75th anniversary of the tournament was coming up, so a nice milestone,” Nelson said.

LaVaque was inspired by Nelson’s work on a list of the top 100 high school hockey players of all time.

“The way he wrote every single story, all 100 stories, had fresh interviews and I was just really amazed,” LaVaque said. “And then I’m a history person. I always enjoy local history, and I just thought, you know what, there is no book like this out there – or I hoped there wasn’t, anyway – and I want to be part of creating one.”

It took Nelson “like half a second” to sign on, even not knowing how extensive of a project it would be. It took the two 33 months to finish, and they did over 400 interviews.

The tournament has changed a lot since it began almost 80 years ago.

“It was guys coming out there wearing football uniforms with magazines taped to their shins. And some of these teams were just invited to come because they needed to get eight teams in the tournament,” Nelson said. “So the first couple were kind of ragtag affairs.”

The arenas have gotten bigger and the players better too.

“I think most recently the single A class has become kind of a juggernaut of its own. Those games are drawing a lot of people, they’re super exciting,” Nelson said. “There’s always four or five of those teams in that class that could compete with anybody in the big schools.”

“One of the new contributions to the updated version of this book is a whole sidebar on Hermantown. We hadn’t really gone deep on them,” LaVaque said. “We had kind of had a little fun talking about when things got crazy with St. Thomas Academy and Hermantown and the Bruce Plante era, but Loren said, OK, Pat Andrews is now a product of Hermantown, he’s now coached Hermantown to a title of his own … let’s do something more about kind of the roots of Hermantown hockey.”

Other than great hair, both LaVaque and Nelson will be watching for the caliber of players.

“No matter which teams get in, there will be in the tournament future Division I stars and probably NHLers. So that has not changed about the tournament over the years,” Nelson said. “So that’s very exciting for a lot of the fans that don’t get out and see these guys and maybe the tournament is their one time to watch the best players in the state. They will be seeing many, many of the best players in the state.”

The book is available in stores and online.