One of the legendary figures in Minnesota hockey history Eveleth native Willard Ikola collaborates here with local author Jim Hoey to tell the story of his many decades in the game. Success always seemed to surround Ikola. He won three state titles as an all-tournament goalie for Cliff Thompson's Eveleth dynasty and then went on to win two NCAA titles with the Michigan Wolverines. After helping the U.S. take the silver medal in the 1956 Olympics "Ike" coached hockey for 33 spectacular years at Edina High School. During that time his Hornets appeared in the state tournament nineteen times and amassed a record eight state titles along the way. Ike became a hockey legend a "gentleman" coach as beloved for his modesty class integrity and signature"houndstooth" hat as he was admired for his teams' performances on the ice.
Willard Ikola and Jim Hoey
Jim Hoey was born and raised in Taconite Minnesota and graduated from Greenway High School and St. Mary's University in Winona. He spent 34 years as a secondary social studies teacher (American history political science and geography) in Shakopee and Farmington. He was proud to emphasize civic-minded behavior and the importance of patriotism to his students and vividly recalls his first observation of the Memorial Rifle Squad at Fort Snelling in January of 1982 when a friend's father was buried on a bitterly cold day.
Hoey published his first book Minnesota Twins Trivia in 2010 and has subsequently published Puck Heaven (2011) on the Minnesota state boys high school hockey tournament Minnesota Vikings Trivia (2013) and Ike: Minnesota Hockey Icon (2015) with former Edina hockey coach Willard Ikola. Each book has been published by Nodin Press. Hoey lives in Eagan with his wife Ann who was a pharmacist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center for 30 years and their son Eddie.