Living in Minnesota, there are certain customs built into our culture. Deer hunting and fishing opener weekends are state holidays, even if they aren’t listed officially on calendars. Summer weekends mean trips to the cabin. Try not to schedule anything in March because everyone is either on spring break or at The Tourney.
And each January, we spend a full day embracing and cherishing our outdoor hockey heritage on Hockey Day Minnesota.
This year is certainly no different, and with Hockey Day Minnesota 2020 set to kick off this week at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis, it’s time to take a closer look at the events that will highlight this year’s celebration.
As has become more common, this year’s Hockey Day Minnesota festivities will kick off a couple of days early with two girls’ high school hockey games being played at Parade Stadium.
The hometown Minneapolis girls will play host to Holy Angels in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader. The familiar foes split their games last season and have had similar results against common opponents this year, setting the stage for a tightly contested tilt. The home squad will lean on freshman point leader Maddy Helmstetter and junior defenseman Julia Stevens to help start Hockey Day Minnesota 2020 with an opening night victory.
In the late game, perennial girls’ hockey power Blake will take on Grand Rapids-Greenway. The fifth-ranked Bears are led up front by senior standouts Adelaide Burton, Lily Delianedis and Audrey Wethington. The Lightning have some star power of their own though in Bemidji State bound Claire Vekich and have shown they can play with high end teams, dropping an overtime thriller to Holy Family early in the season.
If you can't make it to the game, you can still follow the action as both Thursday night games will be live streamed by State of Hockey.
The events at Parade Stadium leading up to Hockey Day Minnesota 2020 continue on Friday with the State of Hockey Women’s All-Star Game and an NHL Alumni game. The two contests are set to feature an impressive list of Minnesota natives and professional standouts who have competed at the highest levels of the game including NCAA, NHL, NWHL and Olympics.
The Women’s All-Star Game will start at 6 pm, followed by the NHL Alumni game at 7:30 pm.
For a list of participants in both games, click here.
Tickets for single-day and three-day packages for the 14th Annual Hockey Day Minnesota are on-sale now at wild.com/HockeyDay.
Free parking will be available at Dunwoody. However, local attendees are encouraged to utilize carpooling, Uber, Lyft, or public transportation if possible as congestion is expected. No public parking will be available at Parade Ice Garden.
The first of four televised games and a full day of original hockey programming on Fox Sports North, this matchup between the host Minneapolis and the Warroad Warriors officially kicks off Hockey Day Minnesota 2020. The key for the hometown team will be finding a way to slow down Warroad’s top line, led Northern Michigan recruit and the state’s top scorer, Grant Slukynsky. Minneapolis should enter the game with confidence though as they’re riding a four-game unbeaten streak.
The afternoon game will feature two Class AA teams with the talent to make deep runs into March this season. Blake, who was considered a pre-season favorite, had an up-and-down start to the season, going 4-3 against a difficult schedule. The Bears have found their groove under new coach Rob McClanahan lately though, winning eight games in a row. Blaine also had an inconsistent first half of the year, but they have the ability, led by UNH recruit and NHL draft prospect Carsen Richels, to score in bunches and beat any team on a given night, creating what should be a high-flying and entertaining game.
For the fourth consecutive year, Hockey Day Minnesota 2020 will feature a women’s college hockey game as top-ranked Minnesota, who are participating for the first time, will host fifth-ranked Ohio State. The Buckeyes have proven to be a tough opponent as they handed the Gophers their only regulation loss of the season back in October, thanks in part to a two-goal game by Mound native and breakout star Liz Schepers. However, the Gophers’ combination of a balanced attack and strong goaltending should give the hometown team a slight edge in this outdoor showdown.
After a recent rough patch, the Wild are likely looking forward to their Hockey Day Minnesota tilt with the Dallas Stars. Whether it’s the special connection with the State of Hockey, seeing the enthusiasm from across the state for our great game, or the added energy the fans bring, Hockey Day Minnesota has been very good to the Wild over the years. They sport a 10-2-1 record on Hockey Day Minnesota, and their last loss at Xcel Energy Center during the state’s annual celebration was all the way back in 2009.