Grand Forks as #1 hockey city? No

Can you be the State of Hockey and not have the top “hockey city” in the country, Minnesota? Sure.

SmartAsset has released its annual rankings of hockey hotbeds and Grand Forks, N.D., comes in #1. Again.

Unlike the Twin Cities, people go to watch its college hockey team, SmartAsset says. Ninety-eight percent of the University of North Dakota’s arena is filled each night, translating to 20 percent of the Grand Forks population going to games, it says.

Grand Forks also has the eighth-highest quality of life.

But St Paul is no slouch in the survey, finishing second, the only National Hockey League city to crack the top 10.

Our data shows that the Minnesota Wild receive some of the strongest fan support in the country. Saint Paul ranks third in our score of fan intensity. The Wild also have more avid fans than other NHL teams. They can expect a packed stadium at games with the third-highest attendance rate in our study. The equivalent of 6.3% of the Saint Paul population shows up for the average game.

Saint Paul also has the 15th-highest quality of life score in our study. If you can’t make the game and need a place to watch, the city is one of the locations in our study that has a large population of dining and entertainment establishments. Another notable distinction: Saint Paul is one of the best cities in the U.S. for women in tech.

Mankato, finishing third, is the only other Minnesota city in the top 10.

There’s a flaw in the survey, according to the methodology, which stiffs St. Paul.

We did not include women’s college hockey teams in our analysis, because there was not enough data available. We excluded teams in the National Women’s Hockey League for the same reason, although we hope to include them in the future.

Right. That team from St. Paul won the league championship last weekend. Plenty of people showed up to watch.

Grand Forks’ days at the top of the list are numbered.