Hall of Fame closed
This comes as disappointing news to me, as my family comes from the area and I know what a great hockey community it is.
There are a number of places in America that make the claim as "Hockeytown." Eveleth is as worthy of that title as any town in the country. It's hockey history is incredible. The town of fewer than 4,000 has produced many greats, including:
- John Mayasich, a guy many people consider to be the best American-born hockey player ever. Mayasich turned down many offers to play in the NHL, and he won an Olympic gold medal in 1960. If you look through the Minnesota state high school hockey program (which featured Eveleth on the cover this year by the way), you will find Mayasich's name plastered all over the record book.
- John Mariucci, the man who the University of Minnesota's hockey arena is named after. He was an All-America selection at Minnesota, and an NHLer. He also coached the Gophers, starting the tradition of recruiting Minnesotans. He's credited with helping high school hockey grow in Minnesota, too.
- John Matchefts, a Hall of Famer and Olympic silver medal winner in 1956.
- Doug Palazzari, a player, coach and administrator. He served as the USA Hockey executive director and is a Hall of Famer.
- Oscar Almquist, the longtime Roseau High School coach and Hall of Famer.
- Serge Gambucci, a hockey legend in Grand Forks. Gambucci, also a Hall of Famer, actually is an Eveleth native.
- Mark Pavelich, the man who assisted on the most famous goal in U.S. hockey history.
The people in the town love hockey and are proud of its history. The Hall of Fame was a source of pride for the area, which also boasts the world's largest hockey stick.
But the truth is that the area is too small to efficiently support such a venue. The nearest "city" is Hibbing, which isn't even half the size of Grand Forks. Besides Lake Vermillion, the area doesn't get many tourists, either. It hardly has traffic going through it. And everyone living in the area has been to the Hall of Fame many times, which leaves the shrine empty.
There was talk of moving the Hall of Fame a few years ago. It now is a reality.
The next question is where will they move it? Word around Eveleth a few years back was that they were looking at moving it out east. I hope this does not happen.
The names of most inductees mean nothing to people out there. How many Philadelphians can tell you who Henry Boucha is? Are the Christians and Brotens going to draw in crowds in Boston?
Minneapolis, Duluth or even Grand Forks seem like more sensible options. If the New Horizons Decade group makes way in building a National Collegiate Hockey Hall of Fame in Grand Forks, would it be feasible for them to make an attempt at Eveleth's Hall of Fame, too?