There are many names to describe the great state of Minnesota – the land of 10,000 lakes, the North Star State, L’Etoile du Nord – but perhaps none exemplify our passion more than one name: The State of Hockey.
Every year, Minnesotans come together on one day in mid-January to celebrate the beautiful game. Beginning in 2007, an event dubbed, “Hockey Day Minnesota” has been an annual tradition where a unique outdoor location is picked, a rink is built on said location, and high school teams face off on the rink in front of a crowd. The games are also broadcast on Fox Sports North, along with the Gophers and Wild games that are usually scheduled on Hockey Day.
On April 19, the Minnesota Wild, along with Fox Sports North and Minnesota Hockey, announced the location for the 2018 iteration of Hockey Day: our very own Saint Cloud.
“Hockey Day is an exciting opportunity to celebrate St. Cloud and the legends and stories that comprise its 100-year hockey history,” said St. Cloud Mayor, Dave Kleis. The festivities are set to be held at Lake George Municipal Park, where there will be a temporary outdoor rink constructed.
Last year, the event was held in Stillwater at Lowell Park. Although there was an overcast sky and slight drizzle, the event still went extremely well. Hockey Day has been held at various locations around Minnesota: In Duluth at Bayfront Park, at Saint Paul’s Phalen Park, as well as numerous other locations around the state.
The event is expected to draw between four and five thousand people, St. Cloud Youth Hockey Association President, Mike Petroske, told the St. Cloud Times. Petroske was very happy to find out that the event was coming to Saint Cloud.
“There has been a lot of patience involved because we’ve been working on this for five years now,” Petroske said. “(The Wild) reached out to us about two months ago and came up for another site visit and, at that point, we were notified it was potentially going to happen again.”
Event chair Brian Schoenborn was also very excited about the event. “We are thrilled to host Hockey Day Minnesota 2018! Sitting at the center of the State of Hockey, St. Cloud has a rich hockey history that is woven into the fabric of our community,” Schoenborn said. “We are excited to welcome the entire State of Hockey to St. Cloud for Hockey Day 2018 and celebrate the great game we love, and its great people, in our great community.”
Hockey Day Minnesota is an event looked forward to by Minnesotans all across the state, as well as here in Saint Cloud. The proceeds of this event will also go to the St. Cloud area youth hockey programs, providing support for young children looking to get into the sport.
Tons of preparation for this event is still to be done, but one thing’s for sure – hockey will be played.