Celebrate youth sports heritage on St Paul's north end with our exclusive SPG trucker. The Shop Pond Gang was the dream for many youth growing in the Como Park area.
10% of sales will be donated to the Shop Pond Hockey League
More Shop Pond history by Patrick Reusse:
I FIRST HEARD OF SHOP POND when starting in the St. Paul sports department in September 1968. Now, almost 50 years later and after getting the note from Dr. Francis, I decided to try to find out what it was and where the name came from.
Turns out, a booster group of adults took the name for a sports club they started in St. Paul’s “North End.’’ That’s a hunk of the city loosely bordered by Lexington and Como Avenues, and toward what’s now Interstate 35E.
I’m not certain of the neighborhood geometry, and sadly Don Boxmeyer, the magnificent St. Paul wordsmith and historian, died too young and can’t give me the exact borders for the North End.
Shop Pond fielded teams in hockey, baseball, speed skating and, presumably, a few more activities. The most-famous group was the bantam hockey team that played as the Shop Pond Gang.
Where did the name come from? I went to my best Rice Street/ Washington High source:
Jim Rantz -- pitching hero of 1960 College World Series won by the Gophers, Herb Brooks’ hockey roommate at the U of M, retired from a long career in the Twins front office, and as it turns out, a former Shop Pond hockey player.
“I think the name came from the railroad shops over by Como,’’ Rantz said. “There was a pond down below the shops where we skated. Oscar Johnson, one of the St. Paul guys who started the Ice Follies, with the Shipstad brothers -- it seemed like he was the No. 1 backer of the Shop Pond teams.
“All of us Rice Street kids wanted to make it through tryouts and play for Shop Pond. They would buy you sticks … and they gave you a jacket!
“AND, if we won the championship, each player would get a $25 savings certificate.
Trucker style hat