Among those who have made Minnesota a leader in hockey in the United States stands the name of Robert Blair Ridder. Bob Ridder was born in New York City and graduated from Harvard University. At the time of his selection to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, he was the seventh Harvard graduate so honored.
Ridder began his hockey involvement with the Duluth Heralds, a senior amateur team in the 1940s. This interest led to a belief that a state organization for all levels of amateur hockey was essential in Minnesota. Thus in October 1947 he, Don Clark, then president of the Hall of Fame, and Everett "Buck" Riley, International Falls, founded the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Associate (MAHA). The Minnesota organization once ranked as one of the leading amateur associations in North America trailing behind only Ontario and Quebec in the number of registered players. Virtually all of the Minnesota produced professionals had a part of the MAHA program.
By 1952, Ridder's interests had expanded to international hockey and with Eveleth born Connie Pleban, he managed the 1952 United States Olympic Team. Under his dynamic leadership, the team was successfully organized and financed. In Olympic competition, the United States made a very formidable showing finishing in second place, one game behind champion Canada. Ridder again managed the 1956 U.S. entry which was coached by United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee John Mariucci. This team also won a silver medal with a well deserved 4-1 victory over Canada as the highlight.
When professional hockey came to Minnesota in 1966, Ridder became one of the nine North Star owners, an interest which he continued through his life. He was a United States Hockey Hall of Fame director for many years.