Jan. 27, 2020
In the summer, it’s the “ping” of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball and dogs barking in a seasonal dog park. This time of year, it’s the sound of a hockey stick slapping a hockey puck and the sound of skates on ice. We’re talking about the sounds of Wayzata’s Klapprich Field.
|Skaters play pick up hockey at Klapprich Park. Photo by Nate Leding. © 2020 Wayzata.com.
If you grew up in Wayzata or are currently living in Wayzata, you know exactly where Klapprich Field is located.
It’s been there for decades along Wayzata Boulevard between Minnetonka and Barry Avenues.
And hockey enthusiasts play between boards that are used as a dog park enclosure during warmer weather.
Klapprich Field was featured nationally when Coors Light shot a hockey commercial in early 2017.
OK, so that’s the here and now. But what was the genesis of this cherished local gathering place?
Klapprich Field is named after a local man Ed Klapprich. The Wayzata City Council passed a resolution back in 1955 to name the recreation area in honor of Klapprich for his efforts to make the field what it is today.
In the early 1940s, Klapprich rounded up a crew of volunteers loading wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt into a marsh.
They spread the dirt with shovels.
A hockey rink was completed on the east end of the marsh by the mid-1940s. The boards surrounding the rink stood only 18 inches high. The warming house was a donated garage.
By 1947, a team of 14-year-olds from Wayzata, Hamel, Sunset Hill, Minnetonka Beach, the Woodhill Club and Medicine Lake was formed. Klapprich was the coach.
In 1955, Klapprich and others passionate about hockey went before the school board to ask for a hockey program for Wayzata High School.
The board agreed and the team would play at the rink on the marsh with Klapprich as the head coach.
In the late 1950s, a cement block warming house was constructed on the northwest corner of the rink.
While the hockey rink kept kids busy during the winter, the baseball field provided hours of summer fun.
In July of 1948, the ball field was ready for games.
The local team, the Little Giants, beat a South Minneapolis team in the first game.
Klapprich Field was added to the Wayzata Parks System in 1986.
In 2005, the old warming house made way for a new one.
One man’s vision of year-round fun for local children more than seven decades ago lives on today.