Up North: Spirit of Duluth continues 46 year tradition
The Spirit of Duluth hockey tournament is one that brings high levels of competition to the Northlands, from ages as young as nine years old all the way to 18.
“We feel like we have the best hockey tournaments in Minnesota, maybe in the United States,” said Bill Oswald, a committee member for 27 years.
48 teams from all over the state participated in the three day tournament, which celebrated its 46th anniversary. Oswald says the longevity of the tournament has inspired new generations.
“A lot of what I’m seeing now with my longevity on the committee is that we’re having coaches now that are bringing their teams because they played in it, and that’s kind of cool. Last year we had a team from Alaska come because the coach happened to be from this area. Originally he played in the Spirit [of Duluth]. He wanted his kid to experience that.”
With the tournament supplying such a large age range, it creates memories for little ones on the ice, and off of it.
“The younger players, they have idols,” said Steve Nash, a grandparent of a player in the tournament. “So, these players look at their own teams and say, ‘that’s what I want to be.
That’s where I want to go. I want to get up to that level and to do that, I know we’re going to have to work hard the whole game’.”
“They’re getting life experiences,” said Oswald. “These kids are not just playing hockey. They’re up with their friends and their families and they’re learning a lot of their life in this.”
Nash also added, “There are so many good players on every team and these players are going to move up in the high school and there’s going to be so many players from all over. They’re going to meet each other in high school also, and that’s really just part of it.”
The Spirit of Duluth tournament results can be found here.