The Lakers reputation for winning and Warroad’s many Olympic hockey stars also made the team a natural proving ground for Team USA. The Lakers played nearly every U.S. Olympic and national team from 1956 through 1988, while also playing against national teams from several other countries during that time.
The connection between the Lakers and the U.S. national teams started with the first matchup in 1956, when the U.S. Olympic Team included two players from the Lakers, Dan McKinnon and Ginny Christian.
Two years later, the U.S. National Team had four Lakers players on its roster, adding Ginny’s brothers Bill and Roger Christian and returning McKinnon. That team traveled to Warroad and was beaten 5-1 by the Lakers, and soon after, Lakers coach Cal Marvin was asked to coach the national team.
In 1960, the Lakers would beat the U.S. Olympic team, one that would go on to win the Gold Medal in Squaw Valley, California a few weeks later.
In all, 15 Lakers alumni would don the Red, White and Blue at either Olympic or International competitions.
The impact of Cal Marvin as it relates to not only Warroad but the USA hockey community can be measured by the fact that the 1980 Gold Medal Olympic team visited our town of 1,800 and participated in an exhibition game. Pure and simple, that game took place in Warroad because of Cal.