Up North: Blistering Cold Bemidji Temps Help Minnesota Celebrate Hockey Day

Updated: January 23, 2019 11:16 PM

It's become a tradition unlike any other in Minnesota.

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"The atmosphere is awesome," explained Grand Rapids senior Quinn Kasell. "We've been going to outdoor rinks our whole life since, so it's like normal for us and I love it."

A tradition where the entire weekend is dedicated to celebrating the sport that makes Minnesota the 'State of Hockey.' In it's 13th year, that meant braving the blistering cold in Bemidji.

"We're pretty bundled up and that helps. I think the only thing cold on me is my face," added Kasell.

"I think it's really cool to see everyone because everyone definitely has a love for hockey. To face the cold and be out here to watch hockey, that's really cool," said Grand Rapids junior Hannah Mark.

Twenty-six degrees below didn't hold back these fans. It meant embracing the cold. Hanging by the fire with friends and family, making plenty of trips to and from the warming tents, and even doing some fishing by day. By night is when Bemidji became the mecca of Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 where players took to the big outdoor stage.

"It's just cool to see big games like this and everybody getting together," said Greenway sophomore Claire Vekich.

Celebrating the state's beloved winter sport isn't about winning or losing.

"As much as everybody wants to win and we obviously approached it as a competitive deal, but it's important to make sure these kids all get an opportunity," Greenway head coach Grant Clafton explained about letting all his players get ice time.

Spending time with the guys, I mean that's a big thing," said Greenway junior defenseman Christian Miller. "Hockey Day is incredible time and it's just an honor to be able to play in it."

It's about sharing the love for the sport that's given Minnesotans memories to last a lifetime.

"Best experience of my life," added Miller.

It was announced that Hockey Day Minnesota will take place in Minneapolis in 2020.

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