Founded in 1947, the Warroad Lakers were one of the best senior hockey teams to ever play in the United States and Canada. In the early years, the Lakers played in the Dominion and Northwest Leagues against teams from Minnesota, but the team soon transitioned to Canadian leagues where they faced the top senior teams from Canada. They played against teams from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and everywhere in between, and did more than just hold their own.
In 50 years as an organization, the Lakers won many championships. A few of the biggest wins were the 1955 U.S. National Open Intermediate Championship and the Hardy Cup, which they won twice as Canadian Intermediate Champions in 1964 and 1974. The Laker’s crowning achievement though was winning the Allan Cup three times.
Canada’s highly regarded Allan Cup named after Sir Montagu Allan is awarded to Canada’s Senior Hockey champion. Just how prestigious is the Allan Cup to our friends north of the border? Between 1920 and 1964, the team that would win the Allan Cup would represent Canada at the Olympics or international tournaments.
The Lakers are one of just two American teams to ever raise the Allan Cup, doing so three times in the mid-1990s and finishing as runner up in its quest for a fourth consecutive title in 1997, the 50th and final season of the club.
The team took on the gritty determination of its long-time leader and coach, Cal Marvin, and later his son David. They treated every practice as if a championship was on the line. The Lakers often travelled through snow, blizzards, and whatever else the northern Minnesota and Canadian landscape could throw in its path to make it to the next game on their schedule.