My good buddy Pete Waggoner on the rapid, strong growth of the insanely exciting and popular MNHockey.TV:
“I started thinking about the potential of a Minnesota hockey website in the early 2000’s, which would contain printed content, images, audio, video and every form of media that existed at the time.
“True story: I was working at a sports radio station and the program director called on a Thursday and said, ‘Wags, no need to come in tomorrow because we’re switching to classic hi-hop right away.’ So I’m done, right?
“I needed to take control of my own destiny, so I promptly started a hockey website, covering the game I love. I learned how to stream in 2006 when I partnered with Channel 9 here in the Twin Cities and started myfoxhockey.com. A year after that, the Minnesota High School Coaches Association approached us and we established an NHL.com-type site for high school schedules, scores and statistics at the MNHockeyHub.com now owned by the StarTribune.
“In 2015, I asked myself why am I’m giving up all of my content to others when I could turn it into a larger business? That’s when I launched the MNHockey.TV.
“A key part of the MNHockey.TV story: I was at a game at the Blake arena, a number one-number two high school girls matchup between Edina and Blake, on January 17 in 2017. I see these two guys there sporting broadcasting headsets, so I asked them what radio station they were with? They said they weren’t doing radio, and pointed to a camera on the ceiling. I’m like, what is that? The athletic director, Nick Raftman, an awesome guy, explained what the guys were doing, livestreaming the game, and said, ‘Wags, you need to get into this, man.’ And I’m like, ya I do! I needed to either jump on board or sit back. In this ever-emerging world of the web, podcasts, video and streaming, a lot of media people are happy just to keep doing what they do. It’s easy, they’re comfortable, but the technology is perpetually changing. As new technology emerges, the viewers’ expectations increase. So if you sit back and rest on your accomplishments, you won’t last very long.
“You have to be nimble, be two steps ahead of all of this stuff as an organization. So we sprinted into automation and the question was how do we scale this across the state of Minnesota? We purchased and installed the video gear in hockey venues throughout the state, and now we revenue share with the local teams and arenas. We’ve created a network where you can watch multiple games on a given night that you never would’ve been able to watch normally.
“In Minnesota hockey, we view ourselves as extraordinarily special in the United States, USA hockey landscape. Our message is we’re fiercely Minnesota and for the Minnesota market. We’re a Minnesota hockey broadcasting company owned and operated by Minnesota hockey people, for Minnesota hockey people. We put the game first. We love the kids and understand that for many kids, this is their show, this is their National Hockey League. For many players, they’re not going to play after high school, so why not make it as special as we can and create memories and opportunities for family members, extended friends and other relatives to be able to watch them play when they ordinarily would not have have been able to.”
MNHockey.TV viewers can watch hundreds of Minnesota high school varsity and junior varsity games, including the holiday tournaments, and youth games broadcast from many venues scattered throughout Minnesota. Games are viewable on mobile phones, computers, tablets and TVs, and viewers can watch games from pretty much anywhere and on demand.
Viewers can purchase an assortment of single-game and season passes for nominal fees.
Legendary Eden Prairie High School boy’s hockey coach Lee Smith on his 2021-22 club: “The Eagles are excited from what they have seen from the four returners and 16 new players in our scrimmages versus the state’s elite programs. We believe that our difficult schedule will help us develop into a contender in trying to return to the X and hoping to defend our title. We are excited for the journey.”