Northland’s best hit the ice ahead of 23rd annual boys hockey All-Star game

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More than 100 junior and senior boys hockey players were nominated as all-stars for the 23rd annual Essentia Health High School All-Star Game. Just 34 earned the exclusive honor to represent Duluth and the Iron Range at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center this week.

"It’s a fantasy format this year," explained Ryan Kern, with event organizers Kern and Kompany. "We took the best Duluth players, the best Iron Range northern Minnesota players, we chose those teams and then we conducted a fantasy draft where the coaches from each team then were able to pick their respective dream teams for the Essentia Health All-Star High School Hockey Game."

Practice was held Monday evening ahead of Tuesday night’s game. Ten programs will have skaters featured in the game from Duluth Denfeld, Duluth East, Hermantown, Proctor, Cloquet, Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Greenway, Rock Ridge and International Falls.

Denfeld head coach Dale Jago will lead Team White and Rock Ridge’s Ben Johnson will coach Team Blue.

"It’s kind of a fun event. You get to see all these guys play against you all year and kind of wish they were on your team at that point, and now you get them together and they’re on your team," Johnson said. "I’m excited to watch them let it go tomorrow and just play."

The All-Star games begins at 7:15pm Tuesday, with the Duluth Police Department versus the Duluth Fire Department game at 5:15pm, and a skills competition at 6:15pm.