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Southwest High School to USA Olympic Coach

By staff, 12/05/16, 4:00PM CST


Dave Peterson Enters the Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame

“Dave Peterson was the best coach I ever had” is close to a unanimous opinion of the hundreds of players who skated for Peterson and Minneapolis Southwest High School from 1955 to 1982.  Peterson was an expert at simplifying the game of hockey, making it, for his players as individuals and as a team, uncomplicated.  Peterson also always had teams made up of tremendous skaters.  Together with his players, Peterson flooded and maintained an outdoor rink at Pershing Park.  He routinely gave the indoor ice practice time to the Junior Varsity while the Varsity skated outdoors.  His philosophy was why spend three hours total traveling to and from an indoor practice arena when his team could instead skate for three hours at Pershing.  Peterson’s formula worked as 14 of his Southwest teams played in the State Tourney, including the 1970 State Champions, one runner up, two third place and one consolation champion.  Many of his players then went on to successful college hockey careers.

Peterson’s own hockey career began in St. Paul.  As a goaltender he led St. Paul Harding to the 1948 State Consolation Championship and then went on to play at Hamline University.   After his 27 year coaching era at Southwest ended Peterson was named Assistant Coach of the 1984 USA Men’s Olympic Team.  From 1985 - 1987 he coached three U.S. National men’s teams and two U.S. Junior National teams.  In 1988 he was named Head Coach of the U.S. Men’s Olympic team and was again Head Coach of the 1992 Olympic Team.  Peterson never, however, lost his low key directness or his reputation as a players coach.

Minnesota Hockey has already recognized Dave Peterson as a Hall of Famer.  The “Dave Peterson Award” is given annually to a high school coach who has shown great leadership in developing youth hockey, either locally or statewide.  In addition, the Elite Camp held every summer for the top high school goalies in Minnesota is the “Dave Peterson Goalie Camp”.  The Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes Coach Dave Peterson.

To visit the Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame and see more about Minneapolis' fantastic hockey history, just CLICK HERE

The Dave Peterson File

State High School Hockey Tourney - 1948 - Harding High, St. Paul, MN

Minneapolis Millers (AHL) - 1950

Head Coach - Minneapolis Southwest Hockey - 14 State Tourney Appearances

  • One Championship Finish
  • One Runner Up Finish
  • Two Third Place Finishes
  • One Consolation Championship

Coached Three USA National Teams in World Championships

Coached Two USA Jr. National Teams in World Championships

  • Coached the 1986 team to the first Jr. USA Hockey Medal (Bronze)

1988 USA Olympic Team Coach

1992 USA Olympic Team Coach

USA Hockey - Director of Coaching and Player Development - 1992-1997


Peterson in 1965 With His Southwest High School Seniors

One of Peterson's Many State Tourney Teams From Southwest High

Fellow Hall of Famer John Taft With His High School Coach in 1971

Head Coach Dave Peterson's 1988 USA Olympic Team

Peterson's 1992 USA Olympic Team