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October 10, 2013

The United Sports of America: What should your state's official sport be?

(Continued)

Michigan

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: pro ice hockey

Also considered: deer hunting

According to HuntStats.com, Michigan leads the nation with an average season harvest of 495,303 whitetail deer. Ted Nugent also has a farm here, which would be worth a billion bonus points if we were playing Big Buck Hunter right now. But, alas, this complex puzzle demands that the deer must be shot elsewhere. Thankfully, we've got a backup plan. Detroit, like lots of other cities, calls itself Hockeytown. In this case, the name fits. The Detroit Red Wings are one of the NHL's Original Six teams and are always near the top of the league's attendance ledger. Michigan might not be America's hockey mecca, but when it comes to the pro game, it is our octopus-flinging king.

Minnesota

Official state sport(s): ice hockey

Our choice: high school ice hockey

Also considered: none

Now this is America's ice hockey mecca. It would be reasonable to bestow the entire sport upon Minnesota, but splitting the puck is essential if we want to complete this vexing project. The Land of 10,000 Lakes gets the high school game, which transfixes the state each March with a tournament that draws more than 100,000 fans.

Mississippi

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: deer hunting

Also considered: none

Ted Nugent lives in Michigan, not Mississippi. But the latter state's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is proud to report that Outdoor Life magazine recently rated the Magnolia State seventh in the nation on its "whitetail scale," which factors in the size of the local bucks, hunter density, cost of outfitted hunts, and "hunter friendliness." As an expert in sadeermetrics, I'd argue that Mississippi should be even higher. The HuntStats.com top 10 rankings for whitetail kills place Mississippi at No. 7, but based on my calculations the state is No. 1 in whitetails bagged per capita. Come on down here, Motor City Madman_the deer are just waiting to be shot!

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