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Eveleth Hippodrome celebrates 100 years of hockey on the Iron Range

This month is the 100th anniversary of the Hippodrome's opening day.
Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2022 at 11:48 PM CST
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EVELETH, MN. (KBJR) - In many small towns, sports are a big part of life, but in one northern Minnesota town, there’s one sport that takes the cake.

“We’re not really like a basketball town; we’re always like a hockey town,” said Parker Clennon, 12-year-old Eveleth-Gilbert hockey player.

Eveleth is home to one of Minnesota’s oldest indoor hockey rinks, the Eveleth Hippodrome.

According to Eveleth natives, it’s basically their calling card.

“The Hippodrome is to Eveleth, what cars are to Detroit and filmmaking is to Hollywood,” said Craig “Figgy” Ritacco, an Eveleth Community Foundation Boardmember.

Ritacco said many hockey greats got their start in the Iron Range town.

“Sam LoPresti, John Mariucci, Mike Karakas, and Frankie Brimsek are a few,” said Ritacco.

This month is the 100th anniversary of the Hippodrome’s opening day.

“The first game that was played in the Eveleth Hippodrome was on January 1st, 1922,” said Ritacco.

To commemorate the first century of the building’s life, members of the Eveleth Community Foundation decided to throw a celebration Saturday.

The event was open to the public.

They served a hot meal and displayed historic hockey memorabilia.

They were raising money to give back to the community.

“We have a silent auction, and we are going to make a pitch during the event tonight to support our efforts,” said Jon Hoel, Eveleth Community Foundation Chair.

The Eveleth Foundation said the money they raise would go to a variety of causes.

“We support arts, we support economic development, also we support community services,” said Hoel.

The event itself was held down the road from the Hippodrome because it was a busy weekend at the ice rink.

“The Mariucci Classic’s this weekend,” said Ritacco.

It was the annual Pee-Wee Mariucci tournament.

For the young players in the tournament, they may not know their place in history, but their aspirations sound like a familiar tune.

“Play D-1 college hockey and go professional,” said Parker Clennon.

Continuing the Northern Minnesota tradition for the next 100 years.

“It’s fun to fly on the ice and score,” said Parker Clennon.

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