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Hockey Day 2019 location to be discussed

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Economic Development Authority will consider a proposed location for next year’s Hockey Day Minnesota event.

The Hockey Day committee has suggested having its outdoor rink and nearby space for concessions just west of the Sanford Center parking lot. The proposal is to use a 2.7 acre lot west of Central Avenue Northeast for the rink and bleachers area, and a 1.1 acre lot for a “Hockey Village,” which accommodates food and beverage vendors.

“We think it works best with all the considerations,” said Bemidji Hockey Day Minnesota organizer Tom Kuesel at a City Council work session on Jan. 29. “Not only for the size, but also having Lake Bemidji in the backdrop for Fox Sports North and the closeness to the Sanford Center.”

Hockey Day is an annual event run by the Minnesota Wild, along with Fox Sports North, celebrating outdoor hockey across the state. Each year, the Wild select a community to have outdoor games between high school teams.

The high school games and special features on the selected community are produced and broadcast throughout the day on the Twin Cities-based Fox Sports North channel. In 2018, Hockey Day was in St. Cloud.

According to Kuesel, the contract the local committee signed with the Wild requires organizers to provide refrigerated ice. The committee would grade and level the land and create a sand base for the ice’s foundation before returning it to its previous condition after the event is finished.

The Bemidji Economic Development Authority is the economic arm of the City Council and owns the two pieces of property near the South Shore. Once it’s regular meeting ends Tuesday, the City Council will then reconvene as the BEDA.