John’s Journal: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Memories
71 Years Apart, State Hockey Stars Share A Moment
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 8:04 PM
The photograph has been seen hundreds of thousands of times online. On the MSHSL Facebook page the photo had nearly 600,000 views by late afternoon Saturday. On my Twitter account alone it had been seen more than 200,000 times.
There’s nothing else like it, because the photo of two people shaking hands, an 88-yard-old man and a teenage boy, encompasses both the history of high school hockey in Minnesota and the reverence for the game’s stars. And the smile on the young man’s face is absolutely priceless.
The whole thing began when Prior Lake defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 6-0 in Thursday’s Class 2A state quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center. The game’s star was Prior Lake senior Alex Bump, who had five goals and one assist.
Watching from the stands was John Mayasich, who is probably the biggest name in the history of high school hockey in the state. Playing for Eveleth in the 1951 state tournament, he set records that still stand for goals in one game (seven), goals in one period (four), most goals in one tournament (15), most career goals at state (36 from 1948-51), as well as records for most points in a period (5), points in a game (8), in one tournament (18) and during a tournament career (46).
Yes, THAT John Mayasich.
John and his son Dan came to the Prior Lake locker room after the game. Dan introduced his dad to Lakers coach Joe Pankratz. John asked, “Is that number 19 around?”
The answer was yes. Alex was introduced to Mr. Mayasich, who told him with a grin, "You almost bumped my record.”
Dan Mayasich took the photo.
Pankratz said, “It was a pretty cool moment that Alex probably will not appreciate for years.”
None of the Lakers players knew who John was. After John and Dan left, the coaches gave the kids a quick history lesson. They told the players to find the state tournament records because “You'll see his name everywhere,” Pankratz said.
Pankratz and assistant coaches Matt Sartor and Matt Crist also stood with Mr. Mayasich for a photo, which they treasure.
It’s pretty incredible when you look at that photo of two high school hockey stars who set the tournament on fire … 71 years apart.
The Hat That Came Back
There was a special exchange between a player and young fan during Friday’s semifinal game between Maple Grove and Prior Lake. Maple Grove senior Joshua Giuliani scored two goals in the first period that got the Crimson started in their 6-2 victory.
Maple Grove was ahead 5-2 when the players went to the bench during a TV timeout in the second period. Crimson senior Sawyer Skanson nudged Giuliani and said a little kid sitting in the front row, on the other side of the glass, wanted to have a word.
The boy knew that Joshua already had two goals, and he wanted to make a promise. He voiced his message through a narrow gap between panels of plexiglass.
Skanson told Joshua, “He wants you to get that third goal, and he's going to throw his hat for you.”
Joshua said, “I turned around, and I said, ‘You want that third goal?’ He's like, ‘Yeah, I do. I'll throw my hat.’ So I went out there about two shifts later, I think, and I ended up scoring.
“I looked over and I saw the kid throw his hat. I saw that I made his day, and it made my day to pick up the hat and give it back to him. I love playing the game for the kids, too. It's not just a team thing. It's about the community.
“I'm not sure if he's from Maple Grove or not. But he's out here supporting us. So I love it.”
Joshua had another big showing in Saturday's championship game, with three goals and an assist. The Crimson lost to Andover 6-5 in two overtimes, giving Andover both the girls and boys Class 2A state titles this year.
Great Year For Northern Hockey
The championship matches in the Class 1A girls and boys hockey tournaments were very similar this year, with Warroad defeating Proctor/Hermantown 6-1 for the girls crown on Feb. 26 and Hermantown beating Warroad 3-2 Saturday in the boys final.
“I think both our boys and girls programs are in a real good spot right now,” said Warroad boys coach Jay Hardwick. “And Warroad’s obviously a special place. We take hockey very seriously, and we do things to help kids make trips down to the state tournament and do things like this. And it's just a testament to our community and all the people involved there.”
The Warroad boys had not played in a state championship game for 13 years.
“It's huge,” Hardwick said. “It’s been a while and I'm hoping it's not another 13 years before we're back in this game again. I'm planning on being back here and doing it again and having a better result, but it's good for our kids to see everything.”
Hermantown won its fourth boys title and the first under fifth-year head coach Patrick Andrews. Having grown up in Hermantown, he became emotional after Saturday’s game.
“I’m speechless, and it means the world to me,” he said. “People in Hermantown have been so gracious to me, phenomenally tremendous support.”
Boys State Hockey Tournament
Championship: Hermantown 3, Warroad 2
Third place: Mahtomedi 4, Alexandria 2
Fifth place: Minneapolis 4, Monticello 1
Championship: Andover 6, Maple Grove 5 (2 OT)
Third place: Hill-Murray 3, Prior Lake 2 (OT)
Fifth place: Edina 3, Moorhead 2 (OT)
--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected]