Lou Nanne

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Lou Nanne
Born (1941-06-02) June 2, 1941 (age 78)
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Right
Played for Minnesota North Stars
National team  United States
Playing career 1968–1978

Louis Vincent Anthony Nanne (born June 2, 1941) is a Canadian-born American former National Hockey League defenceman and general manager. He is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and of the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Nanne grew up in Ontario where he played hockey with Phil and Tony Esposito. In 1960, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota to play hockey for the Minnesota Gophers while studying business administration. At Minnesota, he would be coached by the legendary John Mariucci and would become one of the biggest stars in American college hockey during the 1960s. He is still the only defenseman to win the league scoring title which he accomplished in the 1962–63 season. In 1967, Nanne became an American citizen which allowed him to play for and captain the U.S. national team, alongside future Miracle on Ice coach Herb Brooks, which finished 6th at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.

Playing career[edit]

Signing as a free agent with the expansion Minnesota North Stars, Nanne started his National Hockey League career in 1968 following the Olympics. He would spend his entire career in Minnesota, playing 635 NHL regular season games for the North Stars through the 1977–78 season. A steady defenseman and sometime forward, he scored 21 goals in 1971–72, but was mostly known for his defensive, penalty killing abilities. Nanne played for U.S. national team in 1976 and 1977, participating in the 1976 and 1977 Ice Hockey World Championships and competing in the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976. Nanne also served as national team captain or alternate in both years.

Nanne also played for the Rochester Mustangs and Cleveland Barons.

Post-playing career[edit]

Nanne is arguably best known for his career as a general manager and coach of the North Stars and for the U.S. Canada Cup entries. With an infusion of notable players from the merger with the Cleveland Barons and through the draft, Nanne quickly rebuilt the North Stars into a contender after his playing career ended in 1978. The Stars would reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1981, the division finals in 1984, and would make it to the playoffs seven consecutive seasons (1979–1986). This winning run would see the North Stars average over 35 wins per season, and encompass the North Stars sole 40-win season and six of the organization's ten 35-plus-win seasons. In 1988, following two seasons in which the North Stars finished below .500 and had consecutive fifth-place finishes in the Norris Division, Nanne resigned from the North Stars citing health reasons. Nanne also served as general manager of the U.S. national team in the 1981, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments.

Influence on the "Miracle on Ice"[edit]

Nanne, along with USA Hockey's Walter Bush, spearheaded the campaign to have Brooks named head coach of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team leading up to the 1980 Winter Games. Nanne, who had just been named the general manager of the North Stars, offered Brooks Minnesota's head coaching job, but Brooks declined, saying that it was instead his goal to coach the Olympic team. After legendary Boston University coach Jack Parker turned down the head coach position of Team USA, Nanne and Bush became involved in the Olympic Team selection process and pushed for Brooks to be named coach. Brooks did later coach under Nanne in Minnesota during the 1987–88 season, but was fired along with Nanne following a 19–48–13 season.

Personal life[edit]

Nanne has been the color commentator for the Minnesota State High School Boys Hockey tournament since 1964, a total of 51 years. His son, Marty Nanne (born October 16, 1967), was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft.[1] Nanne has three grandsons playing junior ice hockey or high school hockey.[2] One, also named Lou, played for Edina High School before passing up his senior season to play for the Penticton Vees.[3] He had signed to play hockey for the University of Minnesota, but decommitted and instead attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2012, but never played professionally.[4][5] Tyler Nanne, who was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, was a member of the Edina High School team that won consecutive Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournaments in 2013 and 2014. He played at Ohio St for 1 year, then transferred to the University of Minnesota.[6] Nanne's granddaughter, Erin, works for the Minnesota Wild.[citation needed] Their cousin Vinni Lettieri, whose father Tino, was a goalie for the 1986 Canadian World Cup soccer team, played for Minnetonka High School before joining the Lincoln Stars and is now a member of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.[7] Nanne opened "Lou Nanne's Steakhouse" in Edina, Minnesota in March 2016.[8] It has since been renamed Tavern23 as a tribute to Nanne's jersey number.

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA First Team 1962–63
AHCA West All-American 1962–63

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1960–61 University of Minnesota WCHA 30 4 12 16 52
1961–62 University of Minnesota WCHA 22 4 11 15 37
1962–63 University of Minnesota WCHA 29 14 29 43 30
1962–63 Rochester Mustangs USHL
1963–64 Rochester Mustangs USHL
1964–65 Rochester Mustangs USHL 14 21 35
1965–66 Rochester Mustangs USHL 24 23 22 45 4
1966–67 Rochester Mustangs USHL 24 11 12 23 8
1967–68 United States Intl
1967–68 Minnesota North Stars NHL 2 0 1 1 0
1968–69 Minnesota North Stars NHL 41 2 12 14 47
1968–69 Cleveland Barons AHL 10 1 2 3 8
1968–69 Memphis South Stars CHL 3 0 1 1 0
1969–70 Minnesota North Stars NHL 74 3 20 23 75 5 0 2 2 2
1970–71 Minnesota North Stars NHL 68 5 11 16 22 12 3 6 9 4
1971–72 Minnesota North Stars NHL 78 21 28 49 27 7 0 0 0 0
1972–73 Minnesota North Stars NHL 74 15 20 35 39 6 1 2 3 0
1973–74 Minnesota North Stars NHL 76 11 21 32 46
1974–75 Minnesota North Stars NHL 49 6 9 15 35
1975–76 Minnesota North Stars NHL 79 3 14 17 45
1976–77 Minnesota North Stars NHL 68 2 20 22 12 2 0 0 0 2
1977–78 Minnesota North Stars NHL 26 0 1 1 8
NHL totals 635 68 157 225 356 32 4 10 14 8

International[edit]

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1968 United States OG 7 2 2 4 12
1976 United States WC 10 1 3 4 26
1976 United States CC 5 0 2 2 6
1977 United States WC 10 2 2 4 19
Senior totals 32 5 9 14 63

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
G W L T Pts Finish Result
MNS 1977–78 29 7 18 4 (45) 5th in Smythe Missed playoffs

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Andre Beaulieu
Head coach of the Minnesota North Stars
1978
Succeeded by
Harry Howell
Preceded by
Jack Gordon
General manager of the Minnesota North Stars
1978–88
Succeeded by
Jack Ferreira