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The Herb Brooks Award

The Herb Brooks Award is given to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks. This prestigious award will commemorate the unending influence Herb Brooks had on the sport of hockey in Minnesota and throughout the world.


Herb Brooks is a legend. He not only loved hockey, he lived it. Countless people in the hockey world revered him, and he was a tireless supporter of the sport. Herb always had a story to tell about his hockey experiences. While he is most well known for leading the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic team to the gold medal, the story he enjoyed sharing most was that of his St. Paul Johnson team, which won the state boys’ hockey tournament in 1955.

“Winning the state championship, that represented your neighborhood. I would have to say that it was my biggest thrill ever. It was just the guys in the neighborhood and that was special.”

That win marked the beginning of many victories Herb Brooks would achieve throughout his life. Herb’s integrity, his willingness to take on a challenge, and his dedication left an everlasting impression on the hockey community. The Herb Brooks Award, presented by KSTC Channel 45, is supported by the Minnesota State High School League, the Boys and Girls Hockey Coaches Associations, and of course, by Herb’s widow, Patti, and his children, Dan and Kelly. 

Nomination Process

The head coach of each team qualifying for both the State Girls’ Hockey Tournament and State Boys’ Hockey Tournament can nominate a player for the Herb Brooks Award. This award is open to all players on the varsity roster. There will be one recipient in each class for girls and one for boys.

Player nomination forms can be found on the HBF's website. The coach must complete the checklist of qualities associated with Herb Brooks, and explain why the player deserves the award. The nominee must, in the opinion of his/her head coach, represent the characteristics, values and traits Herb Brooks defined. This award is not necessarily intended for the best player on the team. Instead, it should honor the player with the most drive and dedication to the team, to the school, and to the community — and, of course, to hockey.

Characteristics and values nominees should feature:

  • True love for hockey — a real passion 
  • Commitment and loyalty to school, team, and community 
  • Willingness to sacrifice for the team 
  • Integrity 
  • Courage of his/her convictions 
  • Goal-oriented approach 
  • Sharp focus and strong competitive drive 
  • Excellent work ethic 
  • Willingness to accept challenges 
  • Mental toughness 
  • Strong hockey skills 
  • Strong leadership qualities 

Selection Process

The selection committee comprises current and former high school hockey coaches and other hockey community members with connections to Herb. Herb’s son Dan and his daughter, Kelly Paradise, chair a committee that reviews nominations, observes nominees in state tournament games, and selects the winners. Committee members may interview head coaches to discuss the nominee. 

Winners are selected during the third period of the third-place game for each class at each tournament. The winner’s coach will be notified before each championship game, and the award presentation will take place at the conclusion of the championship game, prior to the championship medals and trophies.

Head coaches must submit nominations electronically by 4 p.m. the Monday of state tournament week.

When your player is chosen

Nominees must attend the championship awards ceremony on Saturday. They should dress appropriately, i.e., in a manner commensurate with a prestigious, televised award ceremony. Game sweaters or other school-insignia apparel are appropriate. If, for some reason, a winning player cannot be present to accept the award, it will be presented to the next-best-qualified player.

Previous Winners

HerbBrooksFDN HerbBrooksFoundation HerbBrooksFDN
Herbbrooksfdn banner jun2018