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ESPN finds the 'center of the hockey universe' in Minnesota

"We're just here for the cake eater comments."

Universally known facts: The sky is blue, grass is green and Minnesota is the State of Hockey, or as ESPN has come to learn, Minnesota is home to the center of the hockey universe in the United States.

This is not a debate about the true Hockeytown, USA, so Warroad and Eveleth are excluded simply from a population standpoint, as ESPN's research is based on the number of youth and adults participating in USA Hockey in a given market.

The top five U.S. centers of the hockey universe, from 5 to 1, are: Chicago, New York City, Detroit, Boston and Minneapolis-St. Paul. 

But zooming in a bit further, the study has found that Edina leads the MSP market and is therefore the official core of the hockey universe in the U.S.  

"Consider this: USA Hockey says that the Twin Cities market pulled 10,922 of its total participants in 2018-19 from a region that includes Bloomington (estimated population 85,934), Eden Prairie (64,952) and a little, rather wealthy place ($99,295 median household income, per the U.S. Census Bureau) called Edina (54,791).

"No one has captured more Minnesota Tier 1 boys' state hockey championships than Edina, with 13. They also lost three times in the title game, and finished third three times. Edina also has won the Class AA girls' hockey title for three straight seasons. Among the notable Edina High School alumni: Anders Lee and Kieffer Bellows of the New York Islanders; former Montreal Canadiens player Bill Nyrop; former NHL player Paul Ranheim; and former NHL executive Brian Burke."

The Edina varsity girls' hockey team is the No. 1 seed in the state tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Hornets lost their season opener 1-0 to Andover but have since won 26 in a row. 

Edina's varsity boys' hockey team finished the regular season ranked 10th in the Let's Play Hockey Poll, and will face rival Wayzata Thursday night in a section playoff game. 

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