With 155 state championships, Edina clearly knows how to win. This year's state boys hockey tournament showed that the Hornets also know how to lose -- with grace and good sportsmanship.
On the way to the tournament, fans on the many local Facebook groups I follow talked about a "three peat" as the Edina boys made it to the state tourney for the ninth year in a row with back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. The Edina supporters talked big -- and who could blame them? Most sportswriters also predicted Edina as the tournament favorite, which predictably made them the least favorite among hockey fans outside of our community.
When Edina fell to underdog Duluth East, others gloated while Hornet fans stood behind their team -- and their opponents. The diehard Edina supporters showed nothing but respect for Duluth East. Here's a sampling of comments from the Facebook page "You know you're from Edina when...":
Edina has a proud tradition of handling defeat well. Following its 1970 loss in the state championships to Southwest, Minneapolis Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar noted Edina's ability to deal with disappointment as well as success:
"(*I)t took Olympic restraint and an unshakeable belief in their peewee futures to smile bravely on 50th Street.
Invariably, you expect Edina to strike the right tone philosophically. Its civic character has been tempered in the swirling vats of prosperity. It has developed a spirit of togetherness, the gift of shared struggles beneath the burdens of success.
"But there does have to be a breaking point, and I would have thought that somewhere in the Edina gymnasium yesterday somebody would have crossed the line separating the Proud-and-Indomitable from the Sore-and-Disagreeable.
"But NOBODY DID. I tell no untruths to say Edina rarely harvests many of the uncommitted votes around the state. .... In the face of this general state of unlove, the villagers have responded with their traditional resort to Earnestness, Reasonableness and another league in the peewee program."
Perhaps these Edina grads show a classy response to an upset because of good role models from Edina Schools when they were growing up.
In 1970, Edina High School Principal Rollie Ring even attended victory celebrations at Southwest HIgh School, which came out on top of the championship game against the Hornets. "If we have to be No. 2, better that it should be Southwest, our neighbor, that is No. 1," he said.
Athletic Director Howard Merriman struck the same tone: "I won't say were defeated. I will say we lost. We were a great team beaten by a great team."
Those words from 45 years ago were echoed this year. Win or lose, Edina is still a great team. As Klobuchar wrote back in 1970, Edina is "still a place for happy ever-aftering."
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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