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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Fans Greet Hockey Team, Trophy

Minnesota State Mankato wins Broadmoor Trophy for first time in school history.

2014-03-31
Robb Murray, Mankato Free Press, 3-24-2014

It's an awkward-looking thing, the Broadmoor Trophy.

Featuring a replica of the famous hotel in Colorado, one wonders whether it’s a prize for hard-fought hockey competition or the outer shell of a diorama project.

But no one at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Mankato cared much about what the trophy looked like. They cared only that the trophy was here, in Mankato, and that the team whose local goals are followed by fans singing “Ole, ole, ole!” had earned the right to carry the Broadmoor Trophy around Mankato for the next 12 months.

One by one fans approached the trophy to gaze upon it, photograph it, selfie with it or pose their toddlers in front of it. In all the years the team has competed in the WCHA, neither they nor the fans have been able to claim it as their own. Until now.

The team and a few dozen of its most loyal fans gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch ESPN as the network announced where and who the team would play next. The ride that has been sweet so far this season isn’t over. It continues next Saturday when the team begins play in the NCAA national tournament.

As far the fans in Mankato are concerned, however, the team is already a hit.

“Even if they lose,” fan Casey Stedman says of the upcoming Saturday game vs. UMass-Lowell, “they’re still successful. I’m just excited we have the potential for three more games.”

Stedman says he came to hockey relatively late. A few years ago when his son made it clear he was going to play hockey, he realized hockey was going to be in his future whether he wanted it to be or not.

“I figured one of us is going to have to figure out how this game is played,” Stedman says.

As for the Mavericks, Stedman says there’s a lot to like about this team.

He likes how connected they are to the community, and he likes the style of hockey they play.

Oh, and he likes one other thing:

"I like that they're not the Gophers," he says.

Across the room, Rodney and Barb Shunk are decked out in Maverick gear.

They attend many Minnesota State University, Mankato sporting events and are true boosters for the university.

Their daughter recently graduated from the school.

They, however, did not.

"We grew up on hockey," Barb says, "watching the UMD Bulldogs."

They grew up in Duluth and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

They followed great iron range hockey players such as Olympians Mark Pavelich and John Harrington.

But when they came to Mankato a few decades ago, their allegiance switched. A lot. How much, you ask?

When the Mavericks played the UMD Bulldogs this season in St. Paul, the UMD alums wore purple and cheered for the Mavericks.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at www.mankatofreepress.com.

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