VFW Hockey History

The first Minnesota VFW State Hockey Tournament was held in 1956. VFW Youth Director Walter (Bud) Longen requested VFW Posts to sponsor a hockey team in a VFW State Hockey Tournament. The tournament was to be held in St. Paul, in conjunction with the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Eight VFW teams were gotten to participate in this first tournament. Five teams were from the Metro area and three teams from out-state (Roseau, Thief River Falls and Duluth). The Roseau VFW team won this first VFW tournament. Tournament trophies were presented by the King and Queen of the Winter Carnival.

In the early years of VFW Hockey, a VFW Post would request that the next tournament be held in their hometown. Now a Post must bid for the VFW Hockey tournament two years in advance. The Post that gets the bid is responsible for running the tournament.

Since the Minnesota VFW Hockey program began, there have been seven State Youth Directors. They are Walter "Bud" Longen, Duane "Shorty" Fervold, Chuck Loftus, Tom Nichols, Leonard Buysse, Jerry Sanborn, Rick Bugbee, and our present Director, Jim Hesselgrave. The Department of Minnesota is very proud of these men.

In 2000, VFW Posts sponsored over 70 Bantam hockey teams in Minnesota. All of the VFW Programs have been run by VFW members that are dedicated to working with youth in our many programs. In addition to hockey, the VFW also sponsors baseball and Special Olympics.

Many VFW Bantam Hockey players have gone on to play college and professional hockey.

If your "A" Bantam team would like to play VFW Hockey and you need a sponsor, please contact your nearest VFW Post or call 651-291-1757.

© 2019 Department of Minnesota VFW