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Inductee Profile

Bruce Lillyblad


Bruce provided the impetus and leadership in the formation of the Rice Lake Youth Hockey Association in 1968. He is considered to be the father of modern day hockey in Rice Lake. In 1971, Bruce and his family co-signed the loan for the existing Rice Lake Hockey Arena, one of only three in Northwestern Wisconsin at the time. He volunteered and served in every capacity in the operation of Rice Lake Hockey. He was on the Board of Directors for 15 years and coached for over 30 years, winning youth state championships at every level; Squirts, Pee Wees and Bantams. He established the Rice Lake Youth Program in the Central Suburban Squirt Hockey League in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 1973. Bruce was one of the leading fundraisers and contributors towards Rice Lake Hockey; providing hockey sticks, helping families to skate, and donating over 2,000 cords of firewood for the annual hockey auction fundraiser. At the State level, Bruce was a director and vice-president of W.A.H.A. for ten years. He was the founder of the highly successful NOR-WIS Hockey League in 1977 and pioneered Rice Lake into the Indianhead Hockey League in 1971. Bruce was also the founder of the Rice Lake Youth Soccer Association in 1980. Bruce graduated from Grand Haven High School in Grand Haven, Michigan in 1954 where he was a letter winner in track placing third in state competition in the 100 yard dash his senior year. He graduated from Michigan State in 1962 where he also lettered in track for the Spartans. He was the owner of Birchwood Manufacturing Company in Rice Lake, retiring in 1996. Bruce was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in September of 1992 and currently resides on Lake Lac Courte Oreilles.

Bruce Lillyblad
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