International Falls hockey coach Larry Ross and the Broncos during a game in the mid-1960s against Duluth Cathedral in Duluth. News Tribune photo by Charles Curtis
There have obviously been many good teams to play in the Minnesota high school boys hockey tournament, but there were none as dominating as the International Falls Broncos during the 1960s.
The Broncos have won seven state championships overall, with four of those coming in the 1960s. The Falls put up some impressive numbers in accomplishing that feat.
–The Falls had a 59-game winning streak from 1962 to 66.
–The Broncos won three consecutive state titles (64-65-66), and were an overtime loss away from five straight. The Falls beat Roseau for the 1962 title, then lost 4-3 in overtime to St. Paul Johnson in the 1963 title game. The Broncos came back to win the next three state titles, including undefeated seasons (26-0) in 1965 and 1966 under the guidance of coach Larry Ross, who was with the Broncos from 1954-85.
Falls hockey coach Larry Ross, who had a record of 566-169-21 in 31 seasons (1954-85), including six Minnesota state titles. News Tribune photo
One other interesting note about those teams. Before Bronco Arena was built in 1968, the Broncos played their "home games" at Memorial Arena in neighboring Fort Frances, Ontario.
Many argue the undefeated 1965 Falls team with players like Tim Sheehy and Pete Fichuk was among the best in Minnesota boys hockey history. I tend to agree, but I may be a little biased being from the Falls. Agree or disagree, I’d like to hear who you think was the best prep hockey team in Minnesota history.
–Dave Nevanen, copy editor