Puck Drop on Duluth: Celebrate the City’s Hockey Culture

hockey player skates on the ice

Duluth’s strong hockey culture can be seen all over the city, no matter the season. It’s produced many NHL greats, members of Olympic teams, collegiate titles and high school state champions. It is also home to a loyal and enthusiastic fan base, one of the many reasons why Minnesota is dubbed, “The State of Hockey.”

For visitors to this great hockey city, we’ve outlined Duluth’s hockey history, where to catch or play a game and where to cheer on your team with fellow hockey enthusiasts.

Duluth’s Hockey History*

Originating from a spinoff of ice polo, Duluth hockey took off in the late 1890’s. The first hockey games were played by kids on the historic Lake Superior Bay. A few years later, adult teams were established and outdoor hockey games began to take over the town. The historic Duluth Curling Club arena brought the game indoors and the famous Duluth Hornets team launched in 1914. Hockey flourished through the Northland and in 1930, Duluth college hockey was born. In 1965, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs entered the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) after 52 straight victories in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). The UMD Women’s Bulldogs remain in the WCHA today, while the men play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). No school has produced more Hobey Baker Award winners than UMD (6) and the men’s and women’s teams have won a combined eight national championships since 2001.

Where to Watch or Play Hockey

Watching the UMD Bulldogs play hockey on home ice is an experience all on its own. AMSOIL Arena broke ground in 2008 to accompany the Duluth Entertainment Conventions Center arena, aka The DECC. The arena can be used for conventions and concerts, but Bulldog hockey is often the hottest ticket in town. With a fan capacity of 6,756 and not a bad seat in the house, the AMSOIL Arena is designed to give every ticket holder the best fan experience. The facility is painted with maroon and gold throughout and accompanied by the iconic bulldog logo. The atmosphere of the AMSOIL, combined with the large strategically placed student section, gives the Bulldogs team that home-ice advantage at every game.

two hockey players face off

Essentia Heritage Center, located in Lincoln Park, is an indoor sports and community center, and houses many hockey games for the Duluth community. The inside is decorated with banners of historic hockey legends that have skated on its ice. The Essentia Heritage Center was created with the community, kids, family and a passion for athleticism in mind, and houses many high school hockey games for the state of Minnesota.  

Along with Duluth’s indoor ice-skating rinks is a long list of outdoor rinks, maintained by a dedicated group of Duluth Amateur Hockey Association (DAHA) parent volunteers. The Duluth community upholds the tradition of outdoor hockey in the Northland by keeping ice conditions smooth and warming houses toasty. Please visit the Duluth’s Parks & Recreation department to find a rink near you.

Where to Go Before, After or to Watch Games

Coming to the city for a game and looking for a refreshment before or after? Just around the bend from the AMSOIL Arena is Hoops Brewing Company, 310 Pub or Little Angie’s Cantina and Grill. Or grab a bite at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill or a drink at The Canal Park Brewing Company. Right next door to the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center in Lincoln Park is Clyde Iron Works, a great spot for a meal in between games and now has a new brewery. Looking for a good place to watch the local game? Check out Duluth Tap Exchange, The Other Place Bar or The Reef. Visit VisitDuluth.com/food-drink for even more gameday options.

*Source: VintageMNHockey.com

Posted on March 17, 2023