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Ranking the best high school teams of the “modern era”

03/06/2019, 10:15am CST
By Let's Play Hockey

What Minnesota Class AA and Class A boys’ hockey programs are truly the best, according to each season’s final rankings?


According to each season’s final rankings from, Duluth East and Breck are the top Class AA and Class A boys’ hockey programs in the “modern era.” Let’s Play Hockey photos by Mike Thill

Edina enters the 2019 Class AA boys’ state tournament as the No. 1 team in the state and in search of its record 10th state championship. The Hornets will be challenged by a strong field that includes No. 2 Blaine and No. 3 St. Thomas Academy. On the Class A side, three of the state’s top six Class A teams advanced to St. Paul, setting up a battle for the state title. 

But what Minnesota Class AA and Class A boys’ hockey programs are truly the best, according to each season’s final rankings? To determine the top teams, we looked at the final top 20, beginning with the 1993-94 season – the year the Minnesota State High School League established Class A and AA – and awarded 20 points for a team finishing No. 1, 19 points for No. 2, and so on. Those points for all seasons were then added together.

The results? In Class AA, Northern Minnesota power Duluth East takes the top spot over top Twin Cities programs Edina and Hill-Murray for first place in our “modern era” rankings. In Class A, Twin Cities private school Breck owns No. 1, followed by Northern Minnesota powers Hermantown and Warroad.

CLASS AA NOTES: 68 teams have been included in the final rankings since 1994 • 10 teams in the Class AA rankings below are currently in Class A • the top 10 includes nine public schools and one private school • Duluth East and Moorhead are the only Northern Minnesota teams in the top 10 • Duluth East and Hill-Murray are the only schools to appear in all 25 final rankings • six schools have appeared in the final rankings 20 or more times since 1994 – Duluth East, Hill-Murray, Eden Prairie, Edina, Elk River, Moorhead • based on the rankings, Cretin-Derham Hall’s 2006 state title was the largest outlier as the Raiders have appeared in the final rankings only eight times since 1994, with an average ranking of 12.6 • Edina ranks first in Class AA state titles (4) and average final ranking (5.86)

CLASS A NOTES: 77 teams have been included in the final rankings since 1994 • 16 teams in the Class A rankings below are currently in Class AA • the top 10 is split evenly between public and private school teams, and Twin Cities and Northern Minnesota teams •  six teams have appeared in the final rankings 20 or more times since 1994 – Breck, Warroad, Hermantown, Blake, Totino-Grace and Mahtomedi • based on the rankings, Eveleth’s 1998 state title was the largest outlier as the Golden Bears have appeared in the final rankings only five times since 1994, with an average ranking of 10.8 • though now in Class AA, St. Thomas Academy ranks first in Class A state titles (5) and average final ranking (3.3)

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Top Minnesota Class AA boys’ hockey programs (1994-2018)

RANK TEAM APP. IN FINAL TOP 20 STATE TITLES AVG. FINAL RANKING POINTS
1 Duluth East 25 2 6.24 369
2 Edina 21 4 5.86 318
3 Hill-Murray 25 1 8.68 308
4 Eden Prairie 22 2 8.18 282
5 Moorhead 20 0 8.6 248
6 Elk River 21 1 10.4 233
7 Bloomington Jefferson 19 1 9.42 220
8 Blaine 17 1 9.06 213
9 Minnetonka 15 1 8.93 181
10 White Bear Lake 19 0 11.5 180
11 Holy Angels 12 2 7.17 166
12 Wayzata 16 1 11 160
13 Grand Rapids 13 1 9.92 144
14 Centennial 14 1 11.1 138
15 Roseau 11 2 9.09 131
16 Apple Valley 12 1 10.4 127
17 Benilde-St. Margaret's 10 1 9.4 116
Burnsville 15 0 13.3 116
19 Maple Grove 9 0 11 90
20 Cloquet 13 0 14.2 89
21 Hastings 7 0 8.43 88
22 Eagan 8 0 10.4 85
23 Roseville 8 0 10.9 81
24 Anoka 8 1 11.3 78
25 Lakeville North 7 1 11.3 68
26 Cretin-Derham Hall 8 1 12.6 67
St. Thomas Academy 6 0 9.83 67
28 Eastview 7 0 12.3 61
29 Osseo 9 0 14.3 60
Rochester Mayo 7 0 12.4 60
31 Greenway 7 0 12.6 59
32 Holy Family Catholic 6 0 11.3 58
33 Bemidji 4 0 12.8 43
34 Lakeville 5 0 12.6 42
35 South St. Paul 3 0 8 39
36 Lakeville South 3 0 9.67 34
37 Stillwater Area 3 0 10.7 31
38 Woodbury 4 0 13.8 29
39 Andover 4 0 174 28
40 Hibbing/Chisholm 2 0 8 26
41 Rochester Century 2 0 8.5 25
St. Paul Johnson 2 0 8.5 25
43 Alexandria 3 0 13.7 22
Robbinsdale Armstrong 2 0 10 22
45 Rosemount 3 0 14 21
Tartan 2 0 10.5 21
47 Brainerd 5 0 17 20
48 Prior Lake 4 0 16.3 19
St. Cloud Apollo 5 0 17.2 19
50 St. Michael-Albertville 2 0 14 13
51 Hopkins 3 0 17.3 11
Park Center 2 0 15.5 11
53 Farmington 2 0 16 10
Rochester John Marshall 2 0 16 10
St. Cloud Tech 1 0 11 10
56 Coon Rapids 1 0 12 9
Duluth Denfeld 1 0 12 9
58 Albert Lea 1 0 13 8
Champlin Park 1 0 13 8
60 North St. Paul 1 0 14 7
61 Buffalo 1 0 15 6
Duluth Marshall 1 0 15 6
Henry Sibley 1 0 15 6
64 Forest Lake 2 0 18.5 5
65 Austin 1 0 17 4
Bloomington Kennedy 1 0 17 4
67 Owatonna 1 0 18 3
68 Park Cottage Grove 1 0 19 2

Top Minnesota Class A boys’ hockey programs (1994-2018)

RANK TEAM APP. IN FINAL TOP 20 STATE TITLES AVG. FINAL RANKING POINTS
1 Breck 24 4 7.04 335
2 Hermantown 21 3 5.43 327
3 Warroad 22 4 6.18 326
4 Blake 21 0 8.95 253
5 Totino-Grace 21 1 10 231
6 Mahtomedi 20 0 9.55 229
7 East Grand Forrks 17 2 8.88 206
8 Duluth Marshall 17 0 9.47 196
Thief River Falls 18 0 10.1 196
10 St. Thomas Academy 10 5 3.3 177
11 Hibbing/Chisholm 17 0 10.8 173
St. Cloud Cathedral 16 0 10.2 173
13 Rochester Lourdes 14 0 9.29 164
14 Red Wing 13 1 8.92 157
15 Orono 13 1 10.7 134
16 International Falls 10 1 10.6 104
17 Fergus Falls 10 0 10.9 101
18 Benilde-St. Margaret's 8 2 8.5 100
19 Little Falls 8 0 10.1 87
20 Virginia 10 0 12.8 82
21 Delano 8 0 11.4 77
22 Alexandria 6 0 8.83 73
23 St. Louis Park 8 0 12.1 71
24 Lake of the Woods 7 0 11.1 69
25 Greenway 5 0 9.2 59
26 Duluth Denfeld 7 0 12.7 58
Roseau 4 0 6.5 58
28 Hutchinson 7 0 13.57 52
29 Eveleth 5 1 10.8 51
Northfield 6 0 12.5 51
South St. Paul 5 0 10.8 51
32 Mound Westonka 6 0 13.2 47
St. Paul Academy 4 0 9.25 47
34 Simley 4 0 9.5 46
35 Sartell-St. Stephen 5 0 12.4 43
36 New Prague 7 0 15 42
37 Litchfield 5 0 13.4 38
38 Mankato West 3 0 8.67 37
39 Albert Lea 4 0 12 36
40 St. Cloud Apollo 3 0 10 33
41 Detroit Lakes 5 0 14.6 32
Sauk Rapids 5 0 14.6 32
43 Princeton 3 0 11.3 29
44 Silver Bay 5 0 15.6 27
45 Monticello 2 0 8 26
46 Farmington 3 0 12.7 25
Mora 3 0 12.7 25
48 Proctor 2 0 10 22
49 Holy Angels 2 0 12 18
50 Minneapolis 3 0 15.3 17
Shakopee 4 0 16.7 17
52 Minneapolis Edison 1 0 6 15
53 Duluth Central 1 0 9 12
Crookston 2 0 15 12
Faribault 2 0 15 12
Spring Lake Park 3 0 17 12
57 Mesabi East 1 0 10 11
58 Chaska 2 0 16 10
Luverne 4 0 18.3 10
Rogers 3 0 17.7 10
Wadena 2 0 16 10
62 Minnehaha Academy 2 0 16.5 9
63 Chisago Lakes 1 0 14 7
Red Lake Falls 2 0 17.5 7
St. Paul Johnson 1 0 7 7
66 Minneapolis South 1 0 15 6
Park Rapids 2 0 18 6
68 Centennial 1 0 16 5
New Ulm 2 0 18.5 5
70 Mankato East 2 0 19.5 3
North Branch 1 0 18 3
72 LeSueur 1 0 19 2
73 Bloomington Kennedy 1 0 20 1
Minneapolis Washburn 1 0 20 1
North Shore 1 0 20 1
Pine City 1 0 20 1
Richfield 1 0 20 1

Tag(s): State Of Hockey  News  HS Boys