Everyone knows Minnesota is known as the “State of Hockey,” and it’s not just because of how hockey-centric the state is during the winter, but year-round. This year the Minnesota Wild hosted the “Crazy Game of Hockey,” which was a great success but wasn’t the only summer event held. The other event, called “Da Beauty League,” is a summer hockey league founded in 2015, with play beginning in 2016, and all kinds of Minnesota natives come to play in it, from David Backes to Alex Goligoski.
NHLers from around the league come to Minnesota every summer for this great event and it brings in quite the crowd. Some fun but simple rules make the game slightly different from regular hockey. The game is split into two 23-minute halves with something called “Za Hot Puck,” a two-minute window where goals count as double, and each team gets one chance per game. It’s not just one team either, both teams’ goals count as double during that time, and it’s sponsored by a company Bernatello’s Pizza, whose headquarters is based in Minnesota.
Overtime is exciting, with a player from each team going one-on-one in a shootout, but after their shot, they race back to the bench for the next player to jump on. This goes on until one team has scored three goals. This article will explore the event, what NHLers partake in it, and who won it this season.
What is “Da Beauty League”?
“Da Beauty League” is a hockey league comprised of six teams of different levels of players from the NHL to college. These teams play each other in four-on-four action throughout the summer for the chance to win the “John Scott Cup,” which, of course, is named after their “quasi commissioner,” former NHLer John Scott. Local businesses sponsor each team, and the money raised is given to local non-profits related to hockey.
Every Tuesday and Thursday night throughout July and August, the league plays three games, but they don’t play at the Xcel Energy Center like the Wild. They head about a half hour west to Braemar Arena in Edina, Minnesota, one of the state’s most-known high school hockey rinks.
Many NHL players head home during the offseason, and Minnesota is no stranger to having its players come home. With the many Minnesotan players returning and wanting to skate, several people got the idea to form a summer league, and thus, “Da Beauty League” was born. However, it wasn’t players who founded the league; it was Ben Hankinson and Chris McAlpine who work for Octagon Hockey as player agents. They couldn’t do it alone, as they also got help from Josh Schaub, Terry Moore, and Tony Michel, who are all co-founders.
Latest News & Highlights
“You’ve got a lot of Minnesota guys that come back every summer, and hockey is a very tight-knit group of guys in general,” said Nick Leddy, who hails from Eden Prairie, Minn. “It’s fun coming back and getting with a lot of old buddies that you may not have played with for a long time or haven’t seen the whole season or summer.”
Who Plays in “Da Beauty League”?
Now that everyone knows what “Da Beauty League” is, the next question is, who plays in it? Every year is slightly different as some players are available while others aren’t. Many players are Minnesota natives like Aaron Ness, Ben Myers, Brock Nelson, Derek Forbort, Nate Schmidt, Ryan McDonagh, and Ryan Lindgren, among others.
While plenty of Minnesotans are on the roster, there are also the current and former Wild players who decide to spend their summer in Minnesota. Current players like Jake Middleton, Goligoski, Brock Faber, Kyle Rau, Nick Swaney, Steven Fogarty, and Vinni Lettieri were all on “Da Beauty League” rosters. Rau, Swaney, Fogarty, and Lettieri aren’t on the NHL roster just yet but are in the Wild system, so they were put on this list. There were also a handful of former Wild players, Alex Stalock, Erik Haula, and Jason Zucker on the roster.
Most of the above players were from this past summer’s roster, but many have played in “Da Beauty League” in previous seasons. Other names like Matt Niskanen, Zach Parise, Nick Bjugstad, Thomas Vanek, and numerous others have played during those last years but did not attend this summer. The league has garnered a lot of attention, and it’s impressive to see the vast array of names who take time out of their offseason to play summer hockey in Minnesota in front of adoring fans.
2023 “Da Beauty League” Winner
This summer, six teams were in the league: Element, Winnesota, TRIA, Walser, Tradition, and Anderson Group Inc. The Element roster finished the summer season in the lead with seven wins and two losses out of nine games. Still, they were unable to close it out in the playoffs.
The Championship and “John Scott Cup” went to Team TRIA, led by none other than the Wild’s most intriguing young defenseman Faber. He scored the overtime winner to secure the championship, his only goal throughout the season. It’s only fitting that Faber, a native Minnesotan, and a current Wild player, would be the hero in a Minnesota summer hockey league.
Minnesota Loves Its Hockey
From “Hockey Day Minnesota” to “Da Beauty League,” hockey is an all-year cultural tradition in Minnesota. The phrase “Eat, Sleep, Hockey” is basically a motto that is engrained in every hockey family throughout the state of 10,000 lakes. This summer hockey league is a great way to have families see NHL players in person when they might not be able to see a Wild game during the regular season.
It also allows kids to get up close and personal with players because it’s in a high school rink and not the Xcel Energy Center. It’ll be interesting to see what players join the league next season and what player steps up like Faber did this summer. Also, if you’re in Minnesota next summer and have some time, check out “Da Beauty League” and watch some great hockey during the hot months.