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Legendary Twin Cities Sports Journalist Tom Hanneman Dies

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Tom Hanneman, whose sports journalism career in the Twin Cities spanned nearly 50 years, has died.

While still studying at the University of Minnesota, Hanneman wrote a letter to Dave Moore, who hosted the evening news on WCCO-TV. Moore gave him a tour of the station, and helped him get a foot in the door as a dispatcher.

Then, in the early 1970s,  Hanneman started working for WCCO-TV as a sports reporter and anchor. During his time, he covered two Vikings Superbowl appearances, the 1987 World Series run for the Twins, and the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

He and former sports anchor Mark Rosen came to WCCO during the same era, and became fast friends and colleagues.

"We were roommates together. He was the best man at my wedding. We had tons of laughs and just kind of grew up in the business together," Rosen said. "After the shows, getting together, hanging out. I mean, I don't think people do that as much in the office anymore, and I think those are the times I remember."

He was known inside the industry as one of the kindest, humblest souls. He has suffered heart issues starting about a year and a half ago, WCCO's Mike Max reports.

Tom Hanneman
Tom Hanneman (second from right). Credit: Tom Ziegler

In 1979, Hanneman experienced what he called a "life-affirming event," in which he was held hostage at Red Laker Reservation. A gun was held to his head, and he was told he was going to die.

After 16 years, Hanneman left WCCO-TV to join the newly-formed Minnesota Timberwolves as a TV and radio host and reporter. He eventually came to be the Wolves' television play-by-play voice.

Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor issued a statement:

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Tom Hanneman. Since the inception of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tom has been a broadcast fixture and voice of our franchise throughout the years. First on radio, then moving to television, his more than five decades of broadcast experience impacted generations of basketball fans. Tom's grace, spirit and sense of humor was felt by all who came in contact with him. On behalf of the Timberwolves and Lynx, we extend our deepest condolences to Nancy, the Hanneman family, and his FOX Sports North family."

In 2012, Hanneman became the face of Fox Sports North, serving as the host for the Timberwolves, Wild, Twins, and Gopher hockey pre-and-post game shows.

Tom Hanneman
Tom Hanneman with his son at Kirby Puckett's Number Retirement in 1997. Credit: Tom Ziegler

Hanneman was awarded the Upper Midwest Emmy Chapter Silver Circle in November of 2020.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, two sons and a daughter. The cause of his death has not been reported.


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