What makes Minnesota the state of hockey? We don’t have ties if a championship game goes too long. We make them play ’til they drop.
The record for longest high school hockey game in history sits right here in Minnesota. Or does it?
Minnesota Minneapolis South beat Thief River Falls in 11 overtimes, theoretically the longest high school hockey game played. But it comes with an asterisk; it’s only the longest in terms of the number of of overtimes played, not the total number of minutes.
That record is being cited today after two Ohio teams played seven overtimes before officials finally said the boys had had enough and declared both teams champions. On Saturday, Ohio schools Sylvania Northview and Cleveland St. Ignatius played to a 1-1 draw after 101 minutes of play.
— Robert Rozboril (@rrozboril) March 8, 2014
The fans at the arena were not happy about the tie, the Columbus Dispatch reports this morning.
(Ohio high school sports commissioner Dan) Ross said he, assistant commissioner Steve Neil and Nationwide Arena state tournament director Joel Siegman met after they noticed “kids bending over, struggling to get back up after falling on the ice and coaches helping kids to the locker room” at the end of the seventh overtime.
Even though no players were injured, there were growing concerns about them “getting a little loopy” and the risk of injury increasing. St. Ignatius coach Pat O’Rourke and Northview’s Michael Jones shook hands afterward and congratulated each other.
“This is an opportunity to show that wins and losses, even in a state championship game, are not more important than player safety,” the OHSAA said in a statement. “Had a player been seriously injured in the eighth overtime due to fatigue, the decision to allow the game to continue would have been seriously questioned more than the decision to end it.”
There was some thought of holding a shootout to settle things, but the adults thought that’s too much pressure to hang around a kid’s neck should he fail.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has assembled a collection of grumpy tweets from fans who never had to break a sweat at the contest.
Now neither team can honestly say they won states because they didn't win the game. Robbing kids of one of the best days of their lives…
— lenny (@soeds87) March 8, 2014
The actual record for the longest championship game in high school hockey appears to reside in Michigan, where eight overtimes were not enough to settle the championship between Marquette and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. It was declared a 1-1 tie in 2008. The overtimes are fairly short, but the game still went on for 109 minutes.
“As the night went on, we were loading our guys up with water and trying to get them any kind of food we could because they had already gone through all the apples, bananas and oranges,” one coach told ESPN at the time. “My wife went and got a case of Nutter Butters from the concession stand, which had already closed but reopened.
“But by the eighth overtime, it was definitely a health issue. It was about the safety of the kids.”
It’s possible the record for most minutes in a high school tournament (though not championship) game sits in Minnesota, too. In February 2000, Champlin Park High School and Coon Rapids High School played a 116- minute, seven-overtime game in the state hockey tournament semifinals.
Champlin won the game 3-2.
Related: The 2014 Minnesota all-hockey hair team.