In 1996, JP Parise, father of Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, was approached to take over a fledgling hockey program for a small but well known boarding school in Faribault, Minnesota. Since then, the program has gone on to win multiple national championships at all levels of minor hockey while attracting the services of young talented stars like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Nathan MacKinnon.
In 1988, shockwaves were sent throughout Canada and California when Canadian icon and arguably the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. But the after-effects of that trade created a hockey boom in the Golden State and its legacy is still felt more than 25 years later. 29 NHL players have called California home, and an even greater number fill out the ranks of the top North American junior leagues and NCAA collegiate teams.
As long as Brady Skjei can remember, he wanted to be a Minnesota Gopher. His grandfather Stan Skjei and relative Brett Sadek both played football at the University of Minnesota and like many other players born in the self-proclaimed State of Hockey, Skjei went to many games at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis hoping to one day be on the other side of the Plexiglas representing the school as a student-athlete.
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