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Edina sets stage for intriguing championship matchup

By Loren Nelson, Legacy Hockey, 03/09/24, 12:15AM CST


Hornets have deep roots in the Tourney, while title foe Chanhassen is a newbie

John Halverson cruises past the Edina bench after scoring a first-period goal against Grand Rapids on Friday. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

History, tradition, success — even a direct link to a legendary broadcaster — Edina is so ingrained in the state tournament its surprising the school’s iconic Hornets logo isn’t emblazoned on the center of the Xcel Energy Center Ice.

Edina is playing in the state tournament for the 37th time. The Hornets have won 10 championships, more than any other program. Just last season they reached the title game, losing to Minnetonka.

“We’ve got all the experience in the world,” Edina senior Jackson Nevers said. “Half our team has been in this position going into tomorrow.”

The Hornets’ 5-2 state Class 2A semifinal victory over Grand Rapids on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was so lacking in drama (the Hornets scored four first-period goals) that attention quickly turned to Saturday’s championship showdown against Chanhassen, a team making its first state tournament appearance.

Questions in the postgame media session centered mostly around the No. 1-seeded Hornets’ experience and the advantage that might present over the No. 2 seed Storm. Or not.

“I’ve watched Chan play,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “They don’t look nervous about anything right now.”

Edina has won its two state tournament gams by a combined 11-4. Chanhassen has won its two by a combined 13-1. What happens when two freight trains collide? We’re about to find out.

“Off the ice we’re all pretty good friends,” Nevers said about the relationship between Hornets and Storm players. “But heading into tomorrow we’re going to be enemies. It all comes down to who wants it more, and I like to believe there’s no friends out there.”

The teams did not meet in the regular season. In fact, they’ve never played against each other. Not surprising, given that Chanhassen went its first 12 seasons without winning a playoff game. Giles did say that Hornets are scheduled to play Chanhassen next season, as good an endorsement the Storm can get for the rise of their program.

Edina senior Bobby Cowan, who scored twice against Grand Rapids, knows many of the Chanhassen players well. None better, though, than standout Storm goaltender Kam Hendrickson. The two have played together on the same outside the high school season for years.

“He’s just a great goalie,” Cowan said. “As long as we can get into his head we should be fine.”

As for that legendary broadcaster, Lou Nanne is calling his 60th and final state tournament from the broadcast booth this week. He makes his home in Edina, his son Marty starred for the Hornets in the state tournament, as has Lou’s grandsons.

“I’m super excited to be able to play for a state title in his last year,” Nevers said.

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