skip navigation

Hermantown's Bruce Plante earns top MHCA honor

By Legacy Hockey staff, 03/31/24, 9:45AM CDT


Former Hawks coach named Cliff Thompson Award winner by coaches association for long-term contributions

Bruce Plante guided Hermantown to three state Class 1A championships during his tenure as the Hawks' coach. Photo by Tim Kolehmainen, Breakdown Sports Media

Bruce Plante, the longtime Hermantown coach who led the Hawks to 13 state tournament appearances and Class 1A championships in 2007, 2016 and 2017, has been named the winner of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association’s Cliff Thompson Award for long-term outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in Minnesota.

The Cliff Thompson Award, named after the former Eveleth coach who guided his teams to five state championships — including four straight from 1948-51 — is the MHCA’s highest honor.

Plante compiled a 547-197-23 record in his 28 seasons leading the Hawks. He retired after the 2016-17 season.

The association’s other award winners and four Hall of Fame inductees were also announced.

Members of the MHCA’s Hall of Fame Class of 2024 are Wes Bolin (Woodbury), Dick Gustafson (Alexandria), Mike MacMillan (Buffalo, former MHCA Executive Director), Scott Oliver (Roseau, East Grand Forks) and Bob Rajanen (Red Wing).

Buffalo coach Aaron Johnson was named the winner of the Dave Peterson Award, given annually to a high school coach who has shown outstanding leadership in developing youth hockey either locally or statewide.

Dustin Vogelgesang, the East Ridge coach who serves as the MHCA’s President and will take over as the association’s executive director in place of MacMillan, who announced his retirement this spring, was named the winner of the Bruce Johnson Award. The award is given annually to the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association board member — or individual who has recently served on the board — in recognition for outstanding contributions in promoting the association and sport of hockey.

Loren Nelson, founder and managing editor or Legacy.Hockey, was named the winner of the Oscar Almquist Award that goes to the non-coaching individual who has contributed to the success of high school hockey by advancing opportunities for players and coaches.

All winners will be recognized this fall at a Minnesota Wild game.

Latest News

Tourney Time Teasers

  • O What a Relief

  • By David La Vaque 06/09/2020, 5:45pm CDT
  • Hill-Murray's Seamus Regan delighted father, brother by accomplishing what they couldn't
  • Read More
  • Danger Zone

  • By Loren Nelson 03/04/2020, 2:30pm CST
  • Goalies were once allowed to skate to opposite end — and did so at their own peril
  • Read More
  • The Heartbreak Kid

  • By David La Vaque 01/24/2020, 10:30am CST
  • Rob McClanahan and undefeated Mounds View dealt bitter state quarterfinal loss in 1976 by Steve Christoff and Richfield
  • Read More

The Full Nelson

  • Fountain of Youth

  • By Loren Nelson 12/08/2022, 1:45pm CST
  • Rejuvenated Mike Randolph, in his 34th season as a head coach, is loving life at St. Thomas Academy
  • Read More
  • Watch List

  • By Loren Nelson 11/07/2022, 8:00pm CST
  • Here are the five games you won't want to miss this season
  • Read More
  • Now You See It ...

  • By Loren Nelson 01/04/2022, 12:30pm CST
  • Houdini-like move by Andover's Cayden Casey joins list of greatest goals-gone-viral scored in recent history
  • Read More
  • The Real Hockeytown

  • By Loren Nelson 11/22/2021, 10:30pm CST
  • Season Primer: When Warroad plays, it's always a primetime event, especially in the Warriors' home town
  • Read More
  • Drama Kings

  • By Loren Nelson 11/18/2021, 12:45pm CST
  • Season Primer: The high school futures of Prior Lake stars Will Schumacher and Alex Bump were in doubt much of this fall
  • Read More