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National Hockey Center would carry Brooks' name

8/19/2003

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."