Al Opsahl

Al Opsahl - Athlete Class of 1942

Competing back when Minnesota high school hockey was still in its infancy, Al led Southwest to the "mythical" Minneapolis City Conference hockey title in 1942. He was also named All-City that year. There were five city teams at the time, and the State Tournament hadn’t been invented yet. In that environment, Al was definitely a pioneer and trail blazer for the empire that would become Southwest Hockey.

Al participated in multiple sports while at SW and "excelled in all of them" according to SW sports historian Ted Colburn.

Al holds another distinction among all SW athletes of all time. He was the first Division I college player to come out of the school when he played for the University of Minnesota from 1944 to 1947. A defenseman, Al captained the Gophers for three years while studying aeronautical engineering. Following his college career, Al played on the 1948 U.S. Olympic Team which competed in St. Moritz, Switzerland. That team won five games, including a 31 to 1 nail biter with Italy, and lost three. Unfortunately, because two teams showed up at the games claiming to be the "official representative" of this nation, the U.S was disqualified and won no medal . Following the Olympics, Al played a few seasons in the American Amateur Hockey League before retiring in 1953. He died at the age of 65 in 1990, fittingly while playing hockey.

His son Al Jr. became a top collegiate swimmer, obviously with his dad’s genes contributing.