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After 60 years, Nanne prepares last call at boys hockey state tourney

Lou Nanne began as a voice for Minnesota hockey 60 years ago. Along the way he became the voice.

After March, he'll turn over a big chunk of that to someone else. Nanne will make the next boys hockey state tournament his last as a television broadcaster.

"It's time to let someone else do it," he said Wednesday. "It's good to go out on my terms rather than if health or something makes me quit.

"I've loved it. It's really tough to say I'm not going to do it anymore after 60 years, but you've got to make those decisions."

Nanne, 82, began broadcasting the state tournament in 1964, after playing three seasons for the Gophers. Since then, hockey and broadcasting have taken him all over the world. He's an Olympian as a player and a broadcaster. He's an NHL figure as a player, coach, general manager and broadcaster.

He admitted he didn't expect to go 60 years.

"I was just hoping to go another year," Nanne said. "I was so young, just 23 years old, and I had never done anything on TV."

Nanne said he has most enjoyed the tournament's twists and turns.

"The unknown, the unexpected," he said. "You never know what's going to happen. And it's always been so competitive. The atmosphere in the building, the excitement of the schools and the teams, the improbability of everything going the way you might think it would go — there's so many things that you never would expect to happen. When you do it long enough, you see so many different things that you might not expect in the short term."

He cited some surprising moments spread over those six decades.

"The Centennial goaltender [Greg Stutz] gets three shutouts [in the 2004 state tournament] — you would've gotten heavy odds on that. And then [Duluth East's Dave] Spehar getting a hat trick in each game [in 1995]. … I guess it's the unexpected that keeps it exciting because it changes every year.''

And he mentioned fulfilling moments.

"Of course, my son and my grandsons,'' Nanne said, referring to son Marty Nanne scoring the winning goal for Edina in the 1984 state championship game and grandsons Tyler Nanne and Vinni Lettieri winning state titles with the Hornets in the 2010s.

"Outside of that, the thing that stands out, of course, is the Apple Valley-Duluth East game because it was so incredible and so exciting,'' he added, referring to the 1996 semifinal that Apple Valley won 3-2 in five overtimes. " … The play in the overtimes was wide open. I couldn't believe the chances that were missed. … That's something that will be tough to replicate."

He'll stay warm while the 2025 tournament goes on. He won't be in attendance.

"Oh, no. If I was going to attend, I'd still do it [broadcast the games]," he said. "I'll be in Florida. I'll just watch online like others do."