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Herb Brooks Foundation and National Sports Center partner to keep Schwan’s Cup running as the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic

By Barclay Kruse, Herb Brooks Foundation Media Contact, 01/03/19, 3:45PM CST


The National Sports Center (NSC) and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced a partnership to continue the well-established Schwan’s Cup high school hockey tournament under a new identity -- the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic. The tournament will continue under the ownership of the NSC.

The holiday week tournament, which this year featured 120 varsity and junior varsity teams – both boys’ and girls’ – has been sponsored by the Schwan’s Company for 17 of its 18 years.

“The Herb Brooks Foundation would like to recognize the Schwan’s Company for 17 years of sponsorship of the premier high school holiday hockey tournament in Minnesota,” said Herb Brooks Foundation Executive Director Jon Cherney. “They have created a proud history, and the Foundation is honored to keep this tradition alive.”

Schwan’s sponsorship of the tournament ended after the 2018 edition, and the tournament will continue from 2019 onward under its new name.

“Schwan’s is a proud supporter of youth athletics across the state of Minnesota and has deeply appreciated the opportunity to work with the National Sports Center on the Schwan’s Cup for nearly 20 years,” said Mike Smith, vice president, corporate communications, public relations, sponsorships & events for Schwan’s Company. “We are excited to pass the puck to the Herb Brooks Foundation as they take the lead on the annual holiday tradition of staging a great hockey experience for high schoolers and fans. We wish the event nothing but success in the years to come and look forward to continuing our support of thousands of youth hockey players at the Schwan’s supported Red Baron Arena & Expo in Marshall, Minnesota.”

Here is a look back at the tournament’s proud history:

1,788 varsity and junior-varsity high school teams have played in Schwan’s Cup – 820 girls’ teams and 968 boys’ teams.

The tournament started in 2001 as the Capital City Classic, with just eight varsity teams playing at the Xcel Energy Center. Schwan’s joined as the tournament’s title sponsor the next year, 2002, and has been the title sponsor through the 2018 edition.

Ryan McDonagh played in Schwan's Cup in 2008, and then went on to represent the USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Dozens of Schwan’s Cup players have gone on to hockey greatness:

Gigi Marvin (Warroad HS) and Ryan McDonough (Cretin-Derham Hall) played on USA Olympic teams.

Many other Schwan’s Cup alumni played for Team USA at various World Championships, including Nick Bjugstad (Blaine), Sarah Erickson (Bemidji), Max Iverson (Edina), Gabby Hughes (Centennial), Keegan Iverson (Breck), Anders Lee (St. Thomas Academy and Edina), Brian Lee (Moorhead), Vinnie Lettieri (Minnetonka), Anneke Linser (Centennial), Milica McMillen (Breck) and Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie).

And here are some the Schwan’s Cup alumni who went on to play in the NHL -- Jonny Brodzinski (Blaine, Kings), Michael Brodzinski (Blaine, Sharks), Stephen Fogerty (Edina, Rangers), Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Maple Leafs), Jake Guentzel (Hill-Murray, Penguins), Anders Lee (Islanders), Brian Lee (Senators and Lightning), Vinnie Lettieri (Rangers), Ryan McDonough (Rangers and Lightning), Casey Mittelstadt (Sabres), Tyler Pitlick (Centennial, Oilers and Stars) and Dom Toninato (Duluth East, Avalanche).

Schwan’s Cup games have been played at 11 different venues over the years: Aldrich Arena, Brooklyn Park Arena, Centennial Arena, Champlin Park, Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena, Columbia Arena, Mariucci Arena, Ridder Arena, Roseville Arena, Schwan Super Rink, Xcel Energy Center.

A total of 3,120 games have been played, 43,584 high school players have taken the ice, and Schwan’s Cup games have been played in front of an estimated 118,000 spectators, and for several years, a live television audience on Fox Sports North.

A total of 214 championship banners have been raised (112 boys’ teams and 102 for the girls)

The tournament has generated $23.4 million in total economic impact from visitors to the communities hosting tournament games.