Warroad: The original Hockeytown USA hopes for Olympic glory


No U.S. men's hockey team has ever won Olympic gold without a player from Warroad, Minnesota, on the roster.

The small town of 1,781, six miles from the Canadian border, has sent seven hockey players to the Olympics since 1956, according to the New York Times. All seven have won an Olympic medal. This year the town is sending two more.

A pair of 2005 Warroad High School graduates are on this year's Olympic hockey teams. 26-year-old Gigi Marvin will suit up for the women's team, while St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie, 27, will take the ice for the men.

From King and Queen of the 2005 Frosty Festival, to the podium of Olympic glory, the hope around Warroad is the one-time community royalty can capture a pair of gold medals.

Oshie, who moved to Warroad from Washington state when he was 15, led the Warriors to two state championships. He told ESPN, "everyone kind of bleeds hockey there."

Marvin is a defenseman and is making her second Olympic appearance. She won a silver medal with the United States women in 2010, and comes from a long line of hockey players in the family.

Warroad's hockey tradition is too rich to make up.

Dave Christian won a gold medal with the "Miracle on Ice" team at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. His father Bill and uncle Roger also brought home gold in 1960 in Squaw Valley, California. Dan McKinnon and another uncle, Gordon Christian were on the 1956 team that brought the silver medal home from Cortina, Italy. Henry Boucha was on the 1972 team that returned with a silver medal from the Winter Olympics in Sappro, Japan.

There could be more on the way. The New York Times said Dave Christian's nephew Brock Nelson, of the Islanders, could be the next Olympic candidate from Warroad in 2018.

So how does one small town have so much Olympic success?

According to the Times, there are nearly 200 children that belong to the youth hockey association in Warroad, with some coming from Manitoba.

The rinks stay busy. With the adjacent Gardens and Olympic rinks, practices and games run seven days a week. Practices start as early as 6:15 a.m. and go until 9:15 p.m.

The high school boys hockey team has won four state titles, the girls have won two. Dozens of players have moved on to receive scholarships for college hockey and even some to the pro's.

"Come early, stay late, skate everyday. The ice is free, the door is open, come on in and play," writes Marvin on the Warroad Youth Hockey page.

It's round-the-clock hockey in Warroad, and from the smallest rink in a tiny Minnesota town, to the world watching on the game's biggest stage, Marvin, Oshie and their teammates will try to keep Warroad's perfect medal record in tact.

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