skip navigation

Hub Nelson - Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame

By staff, 01/16/19, 9:15PM CST


A Goalie So Good He Was Blocked From Playing In the NHL!

Hubert "Hub" Nelson was born in 1907, when Minneapolis hockey was in its infancy. He was born to be a Goalie.  Before he even owned a pair of skates Nelson would walk across the street from his home in northeast Minneapolis to Logan Park. There, at the age of 12, he would strap Life magazines to his shins and play goalie in just his winter boots.

Nelson did have both skates and goalie pads by the time he was playing for Edison High School, where he was the All City goalie in 1925 and 1926. In 1931 Nelson began his pro career playing for the Minneapolis Millers, who he would ultimately tend goal for for five seasons. Nelson's greatest years as a pro were with the St . Louis Flyers in the American Hockey Association. He was named to the league All Star team 8 times and had a career goals against average of 1.87, shutting out his opponents in 25% of the games he played. In the 1938-39 season he posted an extraordinary 18 shutouts in 49 games for the Flyers.

The Chicago Blackhawks attempted a number of times to purchase Nelson's rights from the Flyers but were rebuffed each time as Nelson was considered essential to the Flyer's success. Consequently Nelson never played in the NHL even though he was considered one of the best goalies of his era. This was a tremendous disappointment to Nelson. Hub's closest chance was in 1942 when he was selected by the NHL to be the playoff's substitute goaltender...but he never got in to a game.

World War II came and Nelson was drafted at the age of 35. Although he owned two gas stations in North Minneapolis, he joined the Coast Guard who quickly recruited Nelson to play for their hockey team, The Coast Guard Cutters (each branch of the service had their own team). Nelson was named MVP of the league.

One of his Cutters teammates was U of MN legend John Mariucci. They became best friends. When the war ended and Nelson and his long time sweetheart Ione married, Mariucci was the Best Man. Their friendship continued with Nelson as the goalie coach for Mariucci's Golden Gopher hockey teams.

The Nelsons then raised their children in Golden Valley. There was a pond in the back yard that he turned into a rink complete with homemade goals. His walkout basement became a warming house where the neighborhood kids would put their skates on.

Nelson loved Minnesota High School hockey and went to all the State Tournaments until his passing in 1981. Hub Nelson remains, 94 years after graduating from Edison High, one of the greatest goalies to ever come out of Minneapolis. 

Read more about Minneapolis' amazing hockey history at the Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame, just CLICK HERE!

1943-44 USA Coast Guard Cutters - Mariucci, Brimsek, and Nelson carried this team!

1925 Edison Wizard Yearbook Recapping the 1924-25 Season

The Hub Nelson File

1924-1926 - Edison High School

  • All City Goaltender 1925 & 1926

1931 - 1934 - Minneapolis Millers - Central Hockey League

1934 - 1936 - Oklahoma City Warriors - American Hockey Association

1936 - 1940 - St. Louis Flyers - American Hockey Association

  • Lifetime Goals Against Average: 1.87
  • 1937-38 Season - 15 Shutouts
  • 1938-39 Season - 18 Shutouts

1940-1942 - Minneapolis Millers - American Hockey Association

1942 -  Selected as the Substitute Goalie for the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs

1942-44 - US Coast Guard Cutters - Eastern Hockey League

  • League MVP
  • EHL All Star Goalie

8-Time American Hockey Association All-Star Team

Goalie Coach - University of Minnesota Golden Gophers

1978 - Inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame


1943-44 USA Coast Guard Cutters

1942-43 Coast Guard Cutters - Nelson front included his close friend John Mariucci (third from left - front row) and legendary goalie, Frank Brimsek

Nelson with the USA Coast Guard Cutters Hockey Squad

1933-34 Minneapolis Millers - Fellow Mpls Hall of Famers include Earl Bartholome(w) and Cully Dahlstrom

1939-40 St. Louis Flyers - Nelson pictured back row right...

Minneapolis Millers - 1940-41

Minneapolis Millers - Nelson pictured front third from left