Hockey legend Lou Nanne receives rock star treatment

by Jim Boyle

Former Gopher hockey player and Minnesota Northstar Lou Nanne was greeted by nearly 300 Elk River Youth Hockey Association skaters who came to hear him speak and be congratulated for a job well done on their academic studies.

Nanne, with nearly 50 years behind the microphone at Minnesota State High School hockey tournaments, was the keynote speaker for the association’s  annual S.K.A.T.E banquet, which recognizes hockey players who maintain a B average or better during the hockey season. In addition to having pizza and a chance to win prizes, the student-athletes heard from high school seniors about the importance of working hard on their studies and Nanne who spoke “respect” in hockey and in life.

Jeremy Young, who wore a Minnesota Northstars sweatshirt to the S.K.A.T.E. event, had Lou Nanne sign it for him after the Minnesota hockey legend spoke to the crowd. Photo by Jim Boyle

Nanne also signed dozens of books he wrote along with Jim Bruton that covered his experiences in the sport of hockey. It’s called “A Passion to Win.”

Nanne, however, stressed the importance of kids having fun, and what can take the fun out of the game for them.

He encouraged coaches of 7- to 15-year-old hockey players to play the kids on their team, because they cannot predict when a player will develop physically and into a stronger player.

“I thought what he had to say was awesome,” said Jeremy Young, a parent of a skater. “He talked about coaches letting the kids play. They’re peewees — not pros.”

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