Hockey clears House hurdle

Watching hockey
Lisa Murray watches hockey (and keeps cool)
MPR photo/Tim Post

Legislation that would make ice hockey the official state sport cleared another hurdle at the Capitol.

The Minnesota House passed a wide ranging K-12 education policy bill Thursday night that contains the hockey recognition.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, says hockey has a unique status in Minnesota.

"This is the birthplace of American hockey. This is where the United States Hockey Hall of Fame is. Other states can claim a lot, have a lot of claim to wrestling to basketball to football to other sports. But there's something about hockey that is uniquely Minnesotan," said Urdahl.

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Urdahl said the provision is not intended to slight other sports. But some of his colleagues

Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, says his district includes 13 school districts, but only one hockey team. Heidgerken says the provision is demeaning to other sports.

"To sit here and put that in an education bill, telling our state, telling our kids that if you want to play one sport hockey is the official sport. I'm sorry, every sport is important. And I think that we need to send that message to our entire school systems," said Heidgerken.

Heidgerken said singling out hockey as the state's official sport is demeaning to other sports and doesn't belong in an education bill.