20th Century, Canada, History, Hockey, omnipresent history, Prayer, sports

Minnesota North Stars First Game

October 11, 1967
The Minnesota North Stars debut as a National Hockey League expansion team. The home of the North Stars, Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, was built in 12 months (October 3, 1966, groundbreaking to October 25, 1967, first home game).*

Long before the age of modern ice hockey, with its’ leagues and franchises, Europeans enjoyed similar competitive games. Even authoritative Canadian sources, like the 2019 article by author Jean-Patrice Martel on the “Origins of Ice Hockey”, tip their hat to these bridge-building ancestors.
“Hockey developed from stick-and-ball games played in the British Isles, particularly hurling (Ireland), shinty (Scotland) and bandy (England). These games shared a very similar basic structure and have been documented from the 14th century.
But what about hockey itself? Unlike bandy, hurling and shinty, the term “hockey” is relatively recent. Its oldest known use is in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, written by Richard Johnson. Chapter XI of the book is titled “New Improvements on the Game of Hockey,” which suggests that the name had been in use for some years already. The chapter details the game in over 800 words, using the term “hockey” to designate not the stick, but rather the object with which it is played: a “cork-bung,” or barrel plug.” **

Moving us closer to home, what clues to find to the development of ice hockey as sport in the North Star state during the 19th and early 20th centuries? Author and expert ice hockey historian Rodger A Godin states the following synopsis as Minnesota’s deep rooted attachment to the sport in his stellar book, “Before the Stars” (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
“In the early twentieth century, before the National Hockey League had established a presence in the United States, a team from St. Paul played at the highest levels of hockey in the country. Sports historian Roger A. Godin resurrects the story of the St. Paul Athletic Club team—the AC’s—and argues they were instrumental in turning Minnesota into one of the nation’s first hockey hotbeds and gave birth to what is now known as the “State of Hockey.” ***

Let’s explore the final iterations of farm teams and the foundations of Minnesota’s first professional hockey franchise. Two pivotal local teams caught the eye of Walter Brown, owner of the Boston Bruins; first, the Minneapolis Bruins, and second, the Saint Paul Rangers. This attention, along with the friendship of Minneapolis attorney and hockey booster Walter Bush Jr, cemented the viability of the Twin Cities in the minds of those seeking to expand the NHL brand while increasing TV revenues.

To this end, Bush applied for the expansion, and sought investors that could supply the contractually-necessary 13 thousand seat arena. A St Paul team of investors nearly clinched the deal using the existing Roy Wilkins Arena, but the funds to expand the facility required a public vote which cost too much time. Shortly after this failure, the two factions of owners, (from Minneapolis and St. Paul), decided to to go in together and build a new site for hockey in Bloomington; the Metropolitan Sports Center. This groundbreaking crew October 23, 1966 comprised the new ownership: John Ordway Jr., Walter Bush Jr., Gary Mc Neely Jr., Robert Mc Nulty, John Driscoll, Gordon Ritz, Robert Ritter. These locals paid approximately $2 million to the National Hockey League to add their franchise. *

But where did the first team of North Stars hail from; where did they assemble this first team, seemingly out of thin air? The short answer? They were enlisted from existing NHL teams. See the chart below:

Player Team
Caesar Maniago New York
Dave Balon Montreal
Jean Guy Talbot Montreal
Ray Cullens Detroit
Parker Mac Donald Detroit
Bob Woytowich Boston
Wayne Connelly Boston
Bill Goldsworthy Boston
Andre Boudrias Montreal
Mike Mc Mahon Montreal
Bill Masterton Montreal
Elmer “Moose” Vasko Chicago

“The North Stars played their first game on the road against the St. Louis Blues on October 11, 1967. It ended in a tie. On October 21, the North Stars hosted their first home game against the California/Oakland Seals—which ended with the North Stars’ first win. However, tragedy soon struck the team. Bill Masterson, a center, hit his head in a legal check on January 13, 1968, at the Met Center. His injury was severe, and he died of his injuries two days later in a hospital. His death is the only direct death resulting from gameplay in the NHL. It precipitated regulations for mandatory helmets, though they weren’t required until 1979. Even with this tragedy, the North Stars ended their inaugural season with a trip to the playoffs, losing to St. Louis in the semifinals.”
Now, dear Father, we turn to You to reflect and pray on this history. What will we learn if we remain in Your Presence, and just think about the importance of hockey to Minnesota? How did this beginning of a much-loved sports team change the course of Minnesota? Before that, we remember the Master who created winter, ice, and the people groups who were designed to thrive in the cold. We remember that the Ancient of Days is the author of sport, and its underlying causes: to severely prove one’s ability, to test intensely one’s skills without risk of death, and to learn what Cain and Abel did not. For all these things, we adore You!

One thought that comes to mind is how perfectly hockey is suited to the Northern regions of North America in the last few centuries. We, at least historically, come from tribes and nations that are ready made to thrive in the snow. We remember that You conditioned the first hockey players and fans to play in the snow: Canadians, First Nations (Inuits, Nunavuts, Metis, Algonquians to name a few), and recent American immigrants from mostly Northern European origins: Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Russians, etc.

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes as hockey leagues grew over 100 years ago, shall we? What kind of entertainment suits our very rugged ancestors who spent all day in a frozen logging camp, mining camp, railroad camp, or just homesteading a new farm in the wilderness? Would they relish tennis racquets, cricket bats, and white pants or a fast-paced, high-attention battle that could change at a moments notice, and wind up with blood on the ice? Lord, I guess I’m just pondering if our ancestors who day in and day out did high risk, cold, and dangerous work influenced them to enjoy the battle on ice which is hockey?

Under Your Authority and with agreement with the Council of Heaven, we remember all these formational years before hockey was a professional sport. We are grateful for those who built North America, in the bone-chilling winter, and did not lose their sense of play, but handed this game down to us and the world. Will You bless those of us in high risk professions to be faithful in our work, and vent our combative urges with the good sportsmanship of hockey?

Let’s add to the list of gratitude these specific things; dear Councilor of Heaven:

We remember to You the excitement created by the Saint Paul Athletic Club team of about 100 years ago!

We thank You for Walter Brown, the Boston Bruins, and the Minnesota Bruins!

We applaud the efforts and significant investment of these early hockey boosters:
John Ordway Jr., Walter Bush Jr., Gary Mc Neely Jr., Robert Mc Nulty, John Driscoll, Gordon Ritz, and Robert Ritter.

We thank You for the risk and enthusiasm of our first players:
Caesar Maniago, Dave Balon, Jean Guy Talbot, Ray Cullens, Parker Mac Donald, Bob Woytowich, Wayne Connelly, Bill Goldsworthy, Andre Boudrias, Mike Mc Mahon, Bill Masterton, and Elmer “Moose” Vasko.

We remember the contributions of the city of Bloomington, and all those who worked on the Metropolitan Sports Center.

Will You bless these names, spoken or unspoken, and their generations who contributed to Minnesota hockey? Will You forgive them their judgments of their detractors in roughly the 1920’s to the 1960’s, and those Minnesotans who judged them and failed to see the promises of professional hockey?

We thank You for at least two generations of young men and women who were inspired by the North Stars? We thank You for the impact these moments, whether playing the sport of hockey or participating as a fan, have strengthened the resolve of Minnesotans! So many of us have seen, at least in part, the lessons of an all-out battle, yet with rules!

We thank for the lessons portrayed in the game of hockey and in the North Stars franchise; it made our state better! We thank You that it taught what our ancestor Cain had not caught; we fight our life’s battle according to the rules of the game, and because our competition is made in G-d’s own image, we do not kill, but walk off the field of battle to shake hands with our brother. Is this not the heart of sportsmanship and brotherly love?

Conversely, forgive us Lord where we have prohibited our men and boys from sporting battles like hockey. How does one learn his limits as a man unless he has faced his own battles? Where will men be affirmed in their strength, valor, and leadership if they do not experience even a controlled danger?

Our current culture, dear Father, struggles to parse the meaning of masculinity. We rightly recognize that men need to temper their testosterone. There is something right when a hard as nails block layer holds his daughter’s hand like a butterfly! There’s something of Your efficiency in the moment an executive clears his schedule to give 100% attention and focussed time to his son!

Yet, we have failed to recognize that within ordinary men there is a hero because Your brave nature is in them! Who will fight those men who fight civilization? Who will oppose evil with good if men aren’t taught to sacrifice their safety for others? What is the lesson that Cain and Abel failed to teach us? Is it that the same wild and explosive masculine powers unleashed in the Creation of the Universe are the same masculine powers of self-control that sent our Messiah to the Cross?

A mature man is one who exhibits the self-control of his Eternal Father, his dad, and his coach. A fierce and effective hockey player is the man who retains both the wildest of his wild nature with discipline. What better image of power under control than a star? We thank You, the Most Dominant One of the Universe, for Your gift of the North Star, and the team that is its’ namesake! Let us deeply take in this image of exceeding power under control. Will You make us a State and people who neither fail to recognize Your Greatness in wild, masculine power, or Your Greatness to discipline that power through self-control! Amen!

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”

Proverbs 16:32

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Control

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19th Century, Business, Canada, Civics, Exploration, History, Industry, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, railroad, Transportation

Hill’s First Railroad 1879

00902018

1879

“James J. Hill and his Canadian partners buy the near-bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and rename it the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba. This is the beginning of the railroad career that will earn Hill the title “Empire Builder” and cement the importance of the Twin Cities as a commercial center. 

Hill’s career didn’t begin with railroads. He came to Minnesota at age 18, convincing a steamboat man to hire him as a clerk. From making sure freight reached the right people, he expanded into handling freight by boat, stagecoach, and wagon. By the time his empire was built, he was one of the nation’s leading industrialists. 

In 1891 James J. Hill will crown his success by building a house at 240 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. As massive and well-built as its owner’s railroad empire, the mansion will take three years to build and cost $931,275.01, furnished.” * 

Lord, thanks that You deal with us so patiently. You allow us to learn from our errors and seek You for mercy and truth. Thank You for the blessings of James J. Hill and his railroads.

However, we still feel the weight of the blessing and curses in the wake of his empire building! He was alleged to be duplicitous in his business dealings. He allegedly manipulated land grants or sales from cities, tribes, states, and the nations of Canada and the United States. He may have wreaked havoc on the stock market in his battle with Harriman of the Union Pacific line. **

Hill proved to be cut from a different cloth than the Robber Barons of his age whose modus operandi included manipulation of the stock market, public institutions and opinions, or Federal or State governments. In many ways, he retained the common-sense lessons of his Scots-Irish upbringing in Manitoba, Canada and the Midwestern states. A few examples of his forthright tongue and blue-collar wisdom below.

“Give me snuff, whiskey, and Swedes, and I will build a railway to hell.”

“Work, hard work, intelligent work, and then more work.”

“The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician.” ***

Lord, You are the righteous ruler and justice of North America. Will You remove the curses we have laid on James J. Hill and the lines he laid? Will You forgive his debts to the people of North America and the Midwest? Will You forgive us our injustices and betrayals of Your trust?

Like Mr. Hill, we kill our competitors and covet and build empires in our hearts. We plunder our enemies in our thoughts, and do not see our brothers and sisters as precious lives that You died and rose for! Have mercy on us: the ambitious, the coward, the sluggard, and the average! Remove the curses brought on us, our generations, the land, the property, and our homes both now and until Your return! May the pathway of this railway become a track of blessing to both Manitoba and the Twin Cities! Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/harriman-vs-hill

*** https://www.azquotes.com/author/6703-James_J_Hill

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18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, African American, Anglican, Canada, Christian, education, Evangelism, Great Britain, History, Indian, Intercession, Jesus, justice, Lutheran, Minnesota, Native Americans

Church Missionary Society founded in Minnesota

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August 25, 1851
“The Church Missionary Society for Minnesota was founded on August 25, 1851.

G-d, I’m not entirely sure which Church or who composed this society, but most likely it was the work of Josiah Pratt who dedicated his life to reach the ends of the earth with the Gospel. Minnesota Territory, in this context, qualified as the extremity and meeting place of Western civilization and North American Native cultures. The Society reached out to Canadian and Midwestern First Nations through a branch known as the North West America Mission. **

Please read and enjoy this brief summary of the Church Missionary Society and it’s profound impact on the 19th Century.

“Our story began more than 200 years ago with a group of Christians whose hearts were stirred to put their call into action.
This group included people like William Wilberforce, John Venn, and John Newton. Together they worked to abolish the slave trade, they fought for the rights of oppressed people at home and they launched out on dangerous seas to share Jesus with the world.
The effects of their efforts – as well as the work of thousands of men and women who have followed in their footsteps – are still seen and felt across the globe today.

A brief history of Church Mission Society
The Society was founded in Aldersgate Street in the City of London on 12 April 1799. Most of the founders were members of the Clapham Sect, a group of activist evangelical Christians. They included Henry Thornton MP and William Wilberforce MP. The founders of CMS were committed to three great enterprises: abolition of the slave trade, social reform at home and world evangelisation.

Wilberforce was asked to be the first president of the Society but he declined due to his workload but took on the office of vice president. Thornton became the first treasurer. The Rev Josiah Pratt, curate of St John, Bedford Row (London) soon emerged in a proto-chief executive role.

The spiritual background to the emergence of CMS was the great outpouring of energy in Western Europe now called The Great Awakening. John Wesley, an Anglican priest and failed missionary, became a key player in the UK version of the story. Not all those influenced by the revival left the Anglican Church to become Methodists. One such was John Venn, the saintly rector of Clapham.

Members of the second and third generation following the revival saw many opportunities to consolidate its effects. Alongside the main Clapham agenda they sponsored Sunday Schools for evangelism and education, founded Bible Societies and much more.

The Reformation and the abolition of monasteries and religious orders left the Church of England without vehicles for mission, especially for outreach to the non-Christian world. This new membership society agreed to be loyal to the leadership of bishops and an Anglican pattern of liturgy, but not dominated by clergy and emphasised the role of laymen and women. Much of what we call the Anglican Communion today traces its origins to CMS work. However CMS today is not confined just to Anglicanism, both in terms of people it sends out in mission or ally agencies and projects around the world.

It was expected that Church of England clergy would quickly come forward to be missionaries. When this didn’t materialise CMS turned towards mainland Europe and the earliest missionaries were German Lutherans. For over a century CMS enjoyed rich work relations with the Churches and seminaries of Western Europe. Sadly this was gradually eroded as the European superpowers vied with each other in the race for colonial expansion. Even so we can say the 20th-century quest for Christian unity began through the experience of mission.” **
G-d, regretfully I haven’t yet located primary sources for the founding of CMS in Minnesota Territory, but I thank you for it. May the full number of Minnesotans see You in all Your beauty, and know and fulfill the mission you have created for them! May we follow in their paths to abolish slavery, take just and practical actions to better our State, and give away the happy news of the Gospel; Jesus loves us, wants us, forgives us, and helps us practice living free! Forgive our purposeless living! Forgive our fears of chasing the Wild Goose! (An ancient Celtic image for the Holy Spirit.) May we be blessed to fly, and under Your authority serve to heal all nations!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** “The Church Missionary Atlas (Canada)”. Adam Matthew Digital. 1896. pp. 220–226. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
*** https://churchmissionsociety.org/about/our-history/

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18th Century, 19th Century, African American, Canada, Economics, government, Great Britain, Great Lakes, History, law, Minnesota, Politics, State Government, Treaties

Webster-Ashburton Treaty Signed Aug 9, 1842

 

180px-Map_of_Minnesota_highlighting_Lake_of_the_Woods_County.svg

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which established the boundary between the United States and Canada, was signed by the United States and Great Britain. Minnesota’s “Northwest Angle” was a result of this treaty.*

It is hard to imagine a time where our most pressing and trying foreign policy questions concerned Great Britain or Canada. The hot button issues of the slave trade, impressment of United States sailors, or resolving the unrest due to the Canadian Rebellion of 1837 needed resolution.

Webster-Ashburton, though months in the making, resolved disputes that went back to the Revolutionary War. Lack of clarity in the Treaty of Paris of 1783 seeded conflict on our Northern Border. Lord Ashburton and Secretary of State Daniel Webster made clear land boundaries with open navigation on key portions of the Great Lakes. **

Jesus, thanks that You respect our boundaries. Thanks for the generations of peaceful relationships we have enjoyed with Canada and Great Britain since this agreement. Will You watch over this national border, all Minnesota state borders, and our personal borders? Will You be the Keeper of our Peace?

*mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/webster-treaty

 

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