The Red Knight hockey program began in 1958. Like all programs across Minnesota, the team practiced and played outdoors. Benilde played its home games on a rink at the school’s campus in St. Louis Park. The rink was ﬂooded and maintained by coaches, players and managers.
The team’s ﬁrst coach was Gene Sack, who went onto legendary status while guiding the outstanding Rochester John Marshall teams of the 1970s. Benilde competed in the Catholic Central Lakes Conference where it won four league titles and made four trips to the Catholic State and Independent Tournaments.
In 1974, the Benilde School merged with St. Margaret’s Academy and Benilde hockey soon became known as BSM hockey. The team switched soon thereafter to the Don Bosco Conference. The next several years saw only modest success as the Red Knight pucksters captured only one conference title, in 1977, and advanced to the Region V semiﬁnals under the old one-class tournament format.
The Missota Conference would serve as the team’s new conference home. The team’s ﬁrst Missota Conference title would end the program’s title drought under its ﬁrst-year head coach, Ken Pauly. The next 14 years would see the longest tenure of any of the school’s head coaches. During those years, the team would win over 200 games, collect ﬁve conference titles, advance to ﬁve section championships and capture two Class A state championships. That success moved BSM into the upper echelon of the Minnesota high school hockey elite programs.
Yet another conference change occurred in 1998 when BSM joined the newly formed Metro Alliance. The team dominated conference play by winning six league titles in seven seasons. The North Suburban was the team’s next conference stop in 2005. The Red Knights dominated play and won seven straight conference titles before opting to play an independent schedule. In 2006, BSM made the jump to the state's large-school division, Class AA hockey. BSM defeated the Edina Hornets at Braemar Arena in the program’s ﬁrst Class AA game – a ﬁtting way to make the jump.
After a three-year absence, 2007-08 saw the return of coach Ken Pauly as the Red Knights’ bench boss. His return also marked the team’s return to the state tournament. The team captured the Section 6AA title with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over the Minnetonka Skippers. The team went on to place third at the state tournament.
In 2012 BSM climbed high school hockey’s highest mountain by winning the Class AA state championship. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it one of the “most sentimental runs ever” as the team battled through a life-changing injury to one of its players, Jack Jablonski. Grant Besse’s five goals in the state championship game, the final three of which were shorthanded, in a 5-1 win over Hill-Murray, will go down in the annals as one of high school hockey’s most extraordinary performances.
The Red Knights are entering their ninth year in Metro West Conference, in which they've won or shared six conference titles. The original membership of the conference includes Bloomington Jefferson, Bloomington Kennedy, Chanhassen, Chaska and St. Louis Park. The strength of the conference continues to grow, with the addition of Northfield, Orono and Waconia, and it provides BSM with the flexibility to continue build one of the state’s toughest schedules.
In 2017-18, the Red Knights captured their third Metro West title and the school’s 21st conference championship in boy’s hockey but, after earning the state’s top ranking for 10 consecutive weeks and going undefeated in the regular season in 2015-16, BSM lost a large senior class and fell below .500 in 2016-17, the first season under that mark in 15 years.
The Red Knights return to prominence came in 2018-19 when they won 20 games, finished the season with a top-10 ranking and reached the section championship game before falling to eventual state champion Edina. The success has continued as BSM has reached the Section 6AA championship game in each of the last four seasons.
The program’s winning tradition is built on the foundational principles of the Christian Faith and service to the larger community and to each other. These core themes, coupled with a commitment to excellence, define the hockey experience at BSM. They have been the foundation of the teams of the past. They will continue to shape the teams of the future and the history of Red Knight hockey going forward.
Christian Horn became the first player in Red Knight history to reach 200 career points. His statistics and others are available by clicking on the seasons below.
Spencer Naas set a school record with seven short-handed goals during the 2013-14 campaign. You can check out the Red Knight scoring records here.
Carson Limesand established a number of school records during his four-year career as a Red Knight. BSM goalie records can be found here.
Jalen Long set a school record when he made 46 saves in a game in 2013-14. A complete list of individual and team records can be found here.
In 29 years as BSM's head coach, Ken Pauly has set virtually all of the school's hockey coaching records. Red Knight coaching records can be found here.
Grant Besse shattered nearly every BSM scoring record during his illustrious four-year career, capping his senior season in 2013 by becoming the first Red Knight to earn the coveted Mr. Hockey Award. You can see a list of BSM award winners here.