A snowstorm and bitter cold couldn’t cool the excitement of hockey fans descending on Parade Stadium Jan. 16-18.
Hockey Day Minnesota transformed Lowry Hill’s Parade Park into a hockey haven, with hordes of fans huddled around fire pits, packed into the stands and playing pick-up games on ice sheets in front of the Sculpture Garden.
Minneapolis boys’ head coach Joe Dziedzic said parents and boosters from the city’s high school and youth hockey programs worked hard to put on a fun event. For the past 10 years, the Minneapolis boys’ and girls’ programs have been unified, drawing from all seven high schools.
“It’s keeping hockey alive,” Dziedzic said.
Playing in the cold the night of Jan. 16, the Minneapolis unified girls’ team defeated Holy Angels Academy 3-2 with an overtime game winner from freshman Celia Midtbo. Local schools were undefeated that night, with the Blake girls’ team dismantling Grand Rapids/Greenway 8-0.
The Minneapolis boys fell 5-1 to perennial powerhouse Warroad. Senior captain Alex Murray scored the lone goal for Minneapolis. Playing in front of their high school, the Blake Bears defeated Blaine 3-2.
The University of Minnesota women’s team defeated Ohio State 2-1 on Jan. 18.
Dziedzic, an Edison High graduate who played for the University of Minnesota and in the NHL, also took to the ice for the NHL Alumni Game on Jan. 17.
He said it was an honor to host the event and showcase the sport in Minneapolis.
“We’ve got some good players here and we still play good hockey in the city,” Dziedzic said.