The love of hockey games is what first brought Lou Nanne to the high school broadcast booth all those years ago.
"And the games still are a thrill and excitement for me," he said.
Nanne is behind the microphone and in front of the camera this weekend for the 48th year broadcasting the boys' hockey state tournament. For the third consecutive season, Nanne has called games from high above the Xcel Energy Center ice looking down on one of his own.
Grandsons Tyler and Louie Nanne skated for Edina in the Hornets' last-second Class 2A quarterfinal loss to Benilde-St. Margaret's in Thursday's quarterfinals.
"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that," Nanne said Friday of another opportunity to work one of his grandsons' games. "It's fun for me."
It can also be tough. En route to the loss, both grandsons were whistled for penalties.
Nanne handled it on-air with calm.
"Tyler's was a penalty," he said. "Louie? I'm glad he hit the guy like that. And good teams kill penalties anyway, so I didn't worry about that."
Us vs. them
Friday's Class 1A semifinal games pitted a pair of metro-area private schools and two northern Minnesota public schools against the other, assuring Saturday's third place and championship games would both be private vs. public.
This has irked Hermantown coach Bruce Plante in the past. And as it turns out, nothing has changed.
"It's not a level playing field," he said. "We have 600 people in our school. Even if we could draw every kid from northern Minnesota -- that'd be, what, 100,000 people? They can draw from -- what is the Cities, eight billion people down here? They can get players from anywhere."
Plante did admit high-octane teams such as St. Thomas Academy and Breck add intrigue.
"Makes it a better thing," he said. "But everybody [Saturday] -- nine out of every 10 will be cheering for Hermantown, you know?
"We're 30-0 and we're the underdog."
Prince once played three consecutive sold-out shows at Xcel Energy Center. Paul McCartney, Pavarotti and Elton John have rocked the joint to packed crowds as well. But until Friday, the 200 level had never been opened for a Class 1A boys' hockey session. It became necessary when 12,227 paid to get into the building for the early games.
1. Conrad Sampair, Hill-Murray
OT winner was his second goal vs. Moorhead
2. Jared Thomas, Hermantown
Two goals put Hawks back into 1A title game
3. David Zevnik, St. Thomas Academy
Has yet to allow a goal at state
29 Games (of 30) this season Benilde-St. Margaret's senior Grant Besse has a point.
1 Called penalty in the Hill-Murray/Moorhead Class 2A semifinal.
6 Shots on goal by St. Thomas Academy's Andrew Commers, who was held off the score sheet but made an impact.
"Well, they blanked us."
Breck coach Les Larson, on the quality of St. Thomas Academy's defense
For the third consecutive season, Lou Nanne has broadcast state tournament games from high above the Xcel Energy Center ice while watching at least one of his grandsons.