15 Minutes of Fame: The Minnesota Moose

After the North Stars left for Dallas in 1993, Minnesotan hockey spirits were at an all-time low. Professional hockey had abandoned the one and only “State of Hockey”. Just a year later, thanks to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Kevin McLean, majority owner, and a heavily promoted name-the-team contest, Minnesota saw the triumphant return of professional minor league hockey in the form of the Minnesota Moose.

Minnesota Moose Jersey

Everyone was eager to have fun and support their new team. That first season, sell-out crowds packed into the arenas, watching with hopeful anticipation of Minnesota’s comeback year. Those unable to secure a seat could happily watch from home via the Midwest Sports Channel.

Moose merchandise, wittily dubbed “Moose Gear”, flew off the shelves, besting the revenue of all other minor league hockey teams. Like Kevin McLean had said, “The Moose is a name we can have fun with, and fun is a big part of the IHL’s approach to hockey.”

The first year was not very kind to The Moose, however. An up and down season left them fourth place in the IHL, their record standing at 34-35-12. Minnesotan hopes quickly began crumbling.

Support for The Moose became sparse their second season. Finishing last place in the IHL’s Western Conference caused many Minnesotans to shut the door completely.

Being the minor league affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, The Minnesota Moose made the move to Manitoba in 1996 after just two short years. The team played there until 2011. They now recently relocated and have become the St. John’s IceCaps.

-Dan “The Wisconsin Hockey Fan”

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