National Hockey Center would carry Brooks' name

Updated: August 19, 2003, 12:28 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- A week after Herb Brooks died in a car crash, a state senator has proposed that a hockey facility in St. Cloud be named in the famed coach's honor.

Sen. Cal Larson, R-Fergus Falls, recommended Monday that the National Hockey Center should be called the Herb Brooks Arena. Larson made his suggestion to the chairman of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, a panel on which both he and Brooks have served.

The center is the home of the St. Cloud State Huskies men's and women's hockey teams. It contains two Olympic-sized sheets of ice and seats 6,000 in the main arena.

"Herb Brooks made Minnesota the `state of hockey,"' Larson said in a news release. "I think this is an appropriate way to recognize the lasting impression Herb had on so many people and on the game of hockey worldwide."

Brooks is best known for coaching the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1980. He also coached professionally in Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pittsburgh and collegiately at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University.

Asked about the proposal during a conference call, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he likes the idea but won't endorse it until speaking with people connected to the arena.

"It would be appropriate to find a building or something where we could permanently recognize and remember Herb's life and accomplishments," Pawlenty said. "A hockey arena or something related to hockey would be a natural."

Joe Meierhofer, director of the National Hockey Center, said it's too soon to say whether Larson's suggestion is the appropriate gesture. The Huskies will wear Brooks' initials on their helmets next season but a more lasting tribute needs more reflection, Meierhofer said.

"Once some time has passed we are going to sit down and have some meetings as to how best honor our friend Herb Brooks," Meierhofer said. "I'm sure we'll do something more beyond the helmet."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press