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Sports in Minnesota include professional teams in all major sports, Olympic Games contenders and medalists, especially in the Winter Olympics, collegiate teams in major and small-school conferences and associations, and active amateur teams and individual sports. The State of Minnesotamarker has a team in all four major professional leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL), and the University of Minnesotamarker is part of the oldest major college conference still running (the Big Ten).

Professional Sports

Baseball

Minnesota Twins are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team that moved to Minnesota in 1961 from Washington D.C., where they were known as the Washington Senators. The Twins have played their home games at the Metrodomemarker in Minneapolismarker since 1982. They have been to the World Series in 1965, 1987, and 1991, winning in 1987 and 1991. In 2001, the Twins and the Montreal Expos were threatened with extinction in a contraction scheme of the Commissioner of Baseball. That effort was unsuccessful, and the next year the team made it to the ALCS. Notable current and former Twins include Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Harmon Killebrew, Paul Molitor, Johan Santana, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, Joe Nathan, David Ortiz, and Kent Hrbek. At one time, there was a Major League Baseball team based out of Saint Paulmarker called the Saints, the teams has since moved to Chicago, Illinoismarker and are now the Chicago White Sox.

The current St. Paul Saints are an American Association team. The team was formerly of the Northern League. The team was founded in 1993 as an inaugural team in the league. They won the Northern League Championship in 1993, 1995, 1996, and in 2004. Notable current and former players include Kevin Millar, Darryl Strawberry, Jack Morris, and Ila Borders. The Saints play their home games at Midway Stadiummarker in St. Paulmarker and are not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
 below for information on amateur and other minor league teams.


Basketball

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team founded in 1989 and play their home games at Target Centermarker in Minneapolismarker. The "Wolves", as they are called by fans, have yet to appear in an NBA Finals series. In 2000, NBA officials ruled that the Wolves violated league rules when signing then free agent Joe Smith. They then declared the contract was henceforth invalid, fined the organization $3.5 million, and took the team's next 3 first round draft picks. Notable current and former players include Sam Cassell, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, Wally Szczerbiak and Malik Sealy.

The Minnesota Lynx are a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team founded in 1999 and play their home games at Target Centermarker in Minneapolismarker. The Lynx have made the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, but have never appeared in the WNBA Finals. In 2005, the Lynx drafted Seimone Augustus from LSUmarker. She has become the center of the franchise, and has been the center of many WNBA ads.

The Minneapolis Lakers were an NBA team that was moved from Detroit, Michiganmarker to Minneapolismarker in 1947. During their stay in Minneapolis, the Lakers won the 1947–48 National Basketball League (NBL) championship, then joined 4 other NBL teams in joining the Basketball Association of America (BAA), where they won the 1948–49 BAA championship. After the 1948–49 season, the NBL and the BAA merged to become the NBA. The Lakers then won 5 championships in 6 years, winning in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, and 1954. They are considered to be the NBA's first "Dynasty". Notable players include George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Vern Mikkelsen, Slater Martin, Clyde Lovellette and Elgin Baylor. In 1960, the Lakers moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker, where they became the Los Angeles Lakers.

Football

The Minnesota Vikings are a National Football League (NFL) team founded as an expansion team in 1961. They have played their home games at the Metrodomemarker in Minneapolismarker since 1982. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship in 1969, a year before the AFL-NFL Merger. The Vikings were the first team to appear in four Super Bowls, but also lost all of them. Their last appearance in the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XI against the Oakland Raiders (who were coached by Austin native and TV commentator John Madden) in 1977. Notable current and former players include Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jim Marshall, Ron Yary, Mick Tingelhoff, Paul Krause, Cris Carter, Carl Eller, Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Alan Page, the Purple People Eaters and Adrian L. Peterson. Before the Vikings, Minnesota also hosted the Marines/Red Jackets and Kelleys/Eskimos, see Minneapolis and Duluth .

The Minnesota Vixen are a Women's Professional Football League founded in 1998. They have not appeared in the WPFL Championship. They are the oldest professional women's football team in the United Statesmarker.

Hockey

The Minnesota Wild are a National Hockey League (NHL) team founded in 2000 and play their home games at the Xcel Energy Centermarker in St. Paulmarker. The Wild have not appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals. With their first draft pick in franchise history, the Wild Drafted Marian Gaborik, a player that currently holds the team's record for most points in a season. The Wild made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2003, before being swept by the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The Minnesota Whitecaps are an all women's team that plays in the Western Women's Hockey League.

The Minnesota North Stars were an NHL team that was part of the 1967 NHL Expansion and played their home games at Met Centermarker in Bloomingtonmarker. They appeared in the 1981 and 1991 Stanley Cup Finals, but did not win either one of them. In 1993, the North Stars moved to Dallas, where they became the Dallas Stars. Notable players include Harry Howell, John Mariucci, Gump Worsley, and Mike Modano.

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Evelethmarker, on the Iron Range.

Soccer

The Minnesota Thunder are an USL First Division team founded in 1992 as an amateur Men's team, then joined the USL in 1994.
Notable former players include Tony Sanneh and Manuel Lagos. The Thunder play their home games at the National Sports Centermarker in Blaine, Minnesotamarker.


The Minnesota Lightning are a W-League team founded in 2006.

Lacrosse

The Minnesota Swarm is the state's professional lacrosse team. All home games for the Minnesota Swarm are played at the Xcel Energy Center. The National Lacrosse League (NLL) awarded St. Paul the inactive Montreal Express franchise on August 10, 2004. On December 10 of the same year the team played its first exhibition game against the Colorado Mammoth. In the 2005 season the Swarm missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in the eastern division. In the 2006 season, it qualified for the playoffs for the first time, but was eliminated by the Buffalo Bandits in the first round. In 2008, the swarm finished the season as the best team in their division.

Golf

Minnesota plays host to several professional golf events. The Champions Tour has an annual stop in Minnesota. What was formerly was the Burnett Senior Classic played at Bunker Hills is now the 3M Championship played at TPC Twin Cities. Minnesota was the host of the LPGA Classic from 1990–1998 at Edinburgh USA. The Nationwide Tour stops annually at Tom Lehman's Somerby Golf Club and Community. Though Minnesota is not a stop on the men's PGA tour, the state has hosted several major events. The U.S. Open has been played in the state four times, twice at Hazeltine National Golf Clubmarker, in 1970 and 1991, once at Interlachen Country Club (1930) in Bobby Jones' historic win, and once at The Minikahda Club (1916). Hazeltine then played host to the PGA Championship in 2002, and will again in 2009. The Ryder Cup will then visit Hazeltine in 2016. Interlachen Country Club hosted the Solheim Cup in 2002 and the U.S. Women's Open in 2008.

Table of professional teams

Club Sport League Home Venue Championships
Minnesota Twins Baseball Major League Baseball; AL Hubert H.marker Humphrey Metrodomemarker World Series: 1987, 1991
Minnesota Vikings American football National Football League; NFC Hubert H.marker Humphrey Metrodomemarker
Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball National Basketball Association; Western Target Centermarker
Minnesota Wild Ice hockey National Hockey League; Western Xcel Energy Centermarker
Minnesota Swarm Indoor lacrosse National Lacrosse League; Eastern Division Xcel Energy Centermarker
Minnesota Lynx Basketball Women's National Basketball Association; Western Target Centermarker
Minnesota Vixen American football Women's Professional Football League; National Conference Hamline University'smarker Klas Field
Saint Paul Saints Baseball American Association; North Division Midway Stadiummarker Northern League Championship: 1993, 1995, 1996, 2004
Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks Baseball Northern League; West Division Newman Outdoor Fieldmarker Northern League Championship: 1998, 2003, 2006
Minnesota Thunder Soccer USL First Division National Sports Centermarker 1999
Minnesota Lightning Soccer W-League; Central Conference University of Minnesota'smarker Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadiummarker
Minnesota Ripknees (defunct) Basketball American Basketball Association Gangelhoff Center
Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets (defunct) Football National Football League Nicollet Parkmarker
Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos (defunct) Football National Football League
Minneapolis Lakers (moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker and are now the Los Angeles Lakers) Basketball National Basketball Association/Basketball Association of America Minneapolis Auditoriummarker/Minneapolis Armorymarker 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954
Minnesota North Stars (moved to Dallas, Texasmarker and are now the Dallas Stars) Ice hockey National Hockey League Met Centermarker


Motorsports

NASCAR

There are currently two racetracks in Minnesota that hold NASCAR sanctioned events. Elko Speedway in Elkomarker is a 3/8 mile paved oval, which has held NASCAR events for over twenty years. Raceway Park (Minnesota) in Shakopeemarker is a 1/4 mile paved oval.NASCAR drivers from Minnesota include:

NHRA

200 px
Minnesota is known for being the home of the Brainerd International Racewaymarker, which opened in 1963. It has hosted drag racing, road racing, and kart racing. NHRA drivers from Minnesota include:

Open Wheel

Perhaps the most successful driver from Minnesota is Tommy Milton. Milton became the first driver to win two Indianapolis 500smarker with his wins in 1921 and 1923. Amazingly, Milton was completely blind in his right eye. The aforementioned Brainerd International Raceway also hosts a 3-mile road course, which held a USAC race in 1969 among other events.

Rally

Rally America, based out of Golden Valley, holds an annual event in the woodlands near Bemidji. Known as the Ojibwe Forests Rally, the event is held near the end of August each year. Rally America also holds events in Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Colorado. X-Games superstar, Travis Pastrana, is a regular in the series.

World of Outlaws

There is a yearly World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car event held at Princeton Raceway. Known as the PolyDome Princeton Nationals, the event is most likely held at the track due to WoO driver, Craig Dollansky, being from nearby Elk River. The 1/4th mile track leads to some exciting, action-packed racing.

College

The state of Minnesota has 27 schools competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Minnesota is one of eleven US states that do not have a school listed as an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) member, though there are schools transitioning from the NAIA to the NCAA.

Division I

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers compete in NCAA Division I as member of the Big Ten Conference for all sports but hockey. In the latter sport the school is a member of the NCAA's Division I Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Golden Gophers have won 23 total national collegiate championships, including 6 in football, 5 in men's hockey, 3 in baseball, 3 in women's hockey, 2 in men's basketball, 1 in men's golf, 1 in men's track and field, and 2 in men's wrestling. The entire list of collegiate national championships can be found here. A list of notable former Golden Gophers can be found at Minnesota Golden Gophers#Notable Gopher athletes and coaches.

Four other universities in Minnesota maintain NCAA Division I ice hockey programs, and all five field both men's and women's teams. The other four Division I schools (for ice hockey only) are Bemidji State Universitymarker, the University of Minnesota Duluthmarker, Minnesota State University, Mankatomarker, and St. Cloud State Universitymarker. All five schools participate in the WCHA, with the exception of the Bemidji State men's team which is a member of College Hockey America.

Division II

The NCAA Division II teams in Minnesota are from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). There are 9 Division II classified schools for the 2007–2008 year.

The NSIC was founded in 1932 and joined the NCAA in 1992. Teams competing in the NSIC are:

Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, Mankato and St. Cloud State notably competes in Division I in men's and women's hockey, as members of the WCHA. Bemidji State University has won five NCAA Division II titles. Minnesota State, Mankato has produced three NCAA Division II titles, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth has produced three NCAA titles, all in Women's Division I ice hockey. Winona State has won two NCAA Division II titles. Concordia, St. Paul has won one NCAA Division II title. UM-Crookston, MSU-Moorhead, Southwest Minnesota State and St. Cloud State have not won any NCAA team titles.

Division III

The NCAA Division III teams in Minnesota play in one of two leagues, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) or the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).

Teams competing in the MIAC:

The MIAC was founded in 1920. Conference schools have won 30 total NCAA titles. Among those titles are Augsburg's nine wrestling titles, and St. Thomas' eleven total titles.

Teams competing in the UMAC:



The UMAC was founded in 1972. The conference became an active NCAA Division III conference July 1, 2008. There are eight full members, six from Minnesota. All six Minnesota members are full Division III members.

North Central University in Minneapolis, is an independent school that is also transitioning into the NCAA Division III .

Olympians from Minnesota

The United States hockey team won the Olympic gold medal for ice hockey in 1980, coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks. Eleven of the twenty players on the roster were from Minnesota. The team beat the long-dominant Soviet team in what has been called the Miracle on Ice, and went on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland.

Similarly, the majority of players on the 1972 Olympic silver medal hockey team came from Minnesota.

In the 2006 Winter Olympics, both the bronze medal U.S. men's and the women's curling teams came from the Bemidji Curling Club.

Bloomington native Tom Malchow won a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in swimming.

Carrie Tollefson was on the 2004 Summer Olympic team as a distance runner and ranked 5th in 2006.

Minnesota was well represented in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejiing.

Amateur sports

Baseball

Summer Collegiate Baseball is present in Minnesota with the SCBA-sanctioned Northwoods League. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate, and therefore are not paid. Minnesota's Northwoods League teams are the Alexandria Beetles, Brainerd Blue Thunder, Duluth Huskies, Mankato Moondogs, Rochester Honkers, and St. Cloud River Bats. The Northwoods League Offices are located in Rochester, Minnesotamarker. There are also Northwoods League teams operating in Wisconsinmarker, Iowamarker, Michiganmarker, and Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are a Northern League team founded in 1996. They won the Northern League Title in 1998 and in 2003.

Curling Stones
Minor League Baseball teams associated with Minnesota include the Rochester Red Wings (AAA), the New Britain Rock Cats (AA), the Fort Myers Miracles (High-A), the Beloit Snappers (Low-A), the Elizabethton Twins (Rookie), the DSL Twins of the Dominican Summer League, and GCL Twins of the Gulf Coast League, all sponsored by the Minnesota Twins.

American Legion baseball is played throughout the state in summer.

Golf

Minnesota has more golfers per capita than any state in the U.S. Hazeltine National Golf Club played host to the 2006 United States Amateur Championship .

Curling

In addition to the Bemidji Curling Club whose members competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, there are over two dozen curling clubs in the state.

Roller derby

Minnesota is home to the Minnesota RollerGirls (Saint Paul), North Star Roller Girls (Minneapolis) and T. C. Terrors (Men's travel team). Founded in 2004, 2006, and 2007 respectively, the women's leagues have shown increasing popularity over their existence, with the Minnesota RollerGirls having reached attendance levels of 4,200 spectators at their venue, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, part of the Xcel Energy Centermarker. The North Star Roller Girls started their 2007–2008 season in a new home, the Minneapolis Convention Centermarker, having outgrown the capacity of Coon Rapids' Cheap Skate roller rink.

Soccer

Every year in summer (generally in July) at Blaine'smarker National Sports Centermarker the Schwan’s USA CUP is played: the largest international youth soccer tournament in North America with over 1,000 teams and participants from 22 countries.

Bandy

Bandy in USA is almost exclusively a Minnesota sport.

References

External links




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