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Hockey Day a month away: Rink site growing ahead of January event

BEMIDJI--Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 is barely a month away and the event site on Lake Bemidji's south shore is beginning to take shape ahead of the Jan. 17-19 festivities.

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Bleachers recently arrived at the site for Hockey Day Minnesota, which will take place in Bemidji Jan. 17-19. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI-Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 is barely a month away and the event site on Lake Bemidji's south shore is beginning to take shape ahead of the Jan. 17-19 festivities.

The bleachers have begun to arrive at the area located west of the Sanford Center, and more will arrive this weekend.

The boards will arrive in early January as construction on the rink begins. Ice will go in sometime the week of Jan. 7.

"People are going to see a lot more stuff, like the locker rooms, the trailers that we're going to be using for that sort of thing," said event organizer Brian Bissonette. "... Things are starting to really come together where it looks like something is going on."

The icemaker for the rink is coming straight from the NHL.

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Brandon Radeke, director of ice operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be on hand to make sure the ice is of the highest quality.

"How lucky are we that it just so happens the guy who's going to handle the ice for two weeks is a professional who does this for outdoor events for the NHL?" Bissonette said. "That's pretty lucky, but also I think speaks to the event."

Local youth hockey teams will have the first opportunity to lace up their skates and play on the outdoor rink. Youth hockey games will begin Jan. 13 and will take place throughout the Hockey Day festivities.

Saturday, Jan. 19, is the big day for the state's celebration of all things hockey. Three games will be played that day, including contests featuring the Bemidji High School boys team and Bemidji State women's team.

The BSU men will play in the first-ever outdoor college men's game to take place as part of Hockey Day on Friday, Jan. 18. The BHS girls will kick off the weekend with a game on Thursday, Jan. 17.

Hockey Day Minnesota is organized in conjunction with the Minnesota Wild and Fox Sports North. The event is in its 13th year. The Saturday games will be televised by FSN.

Tickets still available

Tickets are still available for Hockey Day Minnesota.

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An estimated 2,300 tickets have been sold for Saturday, while about 2,900 have been sold for the BSU men's game Friday, and more than 2,000 for the BHS girls game Thursday.

Each day will require a separate ticket.

Tickets for Thursday, Jan. 17, are $10 for adults through Dec. 31 and $15 after, while fans 17 and under get in free.

Tickets for Friday, Jan. 18, are $29 per person.

Through Dec. 31, tickets for Saturday, Jan. 19, are $30 for adults, $20 for ages 5-17, and kids 4 and under get in free. Prices will increase $5 beginning Jan. 1. Ticket includes entry to all three Saturday games.

Live music and entertainment will take place each night after the games. Admission is free each day after the final outdoor game has ended.

There will be free off-site parking and shuttle service all three days with various drop-off/pick-up points around town. A map of the off-site parking locations and shuttle routes will be available closer to the event. There will also be limited paid parking available at the Sanford Center Thursday and Saturday.

HDM items to be auctioned

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Fans can buy a piece of Hockey Day Minnesota by bidding on or purchasing items that will be used during the event.

Items in the auction include bar tops, corn hole boards, chainsaw carvings, Minnesota Wild memorabilia and more.

To check out the items, visit charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/HockeyDayMN2019-6462.

Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 schedule

Thursday, Jan. 17

High School Girls: Bemidji vs. Woodbury, 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18

College Men: Bemidji State vs. Michigan Tech, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19

High School Boys: Minnetonka vs. Andover, 9:30 a.m.

College Women: Bemidji State vs. Minnesota State, 1 p.m.

High School Boys: Bemidji vs. Greenway, 4:30 p.m.

Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at sports@bemidjipioneer.com.
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