It's a late-winter tradition unlike any other. Every year tens of thousands of fans file into the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., to watch the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, or better known simply as "The Tourney."
The history of this annual event is rich and steeped in tradition. The pageantry, the screaming classmates, the pep bands and the hair. Oh, the hair.
Each player gets introduced before the games and the eyes of Minnesota are upon them. With only a few seconds of face time, the players have to make an impression. That's where the hair, or as the kids call it, flow, comes in.
The past few years, Pulltab Productions has honored the follicular tradition by naming its "All-Hockey Hair Team." Winning the state title is great, but being in the top 10 on Pulltab's list means immortality (or you're remembered until YouTube is overtaken by some technology we are not yet aware of).
The 2014 edition was, as expected, spectacular. It even took a look back into the 1980s and '90s for some of the all-time greats in tourney hair. That's what makes the 2014 All-Hockey Hair Team that much more enjoyable. The kids of today are bringing it.
Some highlights from the video's hilariously droll narrator.
• The intro: "This is a huge year, with only two private schools, I knew the flow would be flyin'."
• On attempting to do the girls' hockey tournament All-Hair Team: "Sport wrap, sport wrap, sport wrap ... braid. Sport wrap."
• In the historical look at '80s hair: "The stuff these guys were doing, it wasn't ironic. It was real. They really had stripes because they wanted to have stripes. Coaches looked like Keith Hernandez. It was an amazing time."
• On a red-headed gentleman sporting an Annie-esque afro: "Even though Orono lost, I'm pretty sure the sun will come out tomorrow."
• On one player's spectacular mullet: "Eagan, huge showing here in the tournament. Dual exhaust pipes here from Tom. Love that."
• General thought from our fearless narrator, bordering on creepy, but still great: "A lot of handling the flow this year. Don't be afraid to touch it if you need to."
That's it for another edition of the All-Hockey Hair Team. Perhaps 2015 will bring it even more, but it's hard to imagine anyone touching the 2014's squad. Strong effort, Minnesota.
Edina will try to defend its title against Lakeville North in the Class AA state final Saturday night in St. Paul. Former ESPN hockey play-by-play man Gary Thorne is on the call. It's that big.