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Anticipation For 2016 Hockey Day Minnesota Grows

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild


Details have been solidified for Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota 2016 festivities. Key figures representing Duluth’s hockey heritage Bob and Jerry Fryberger and Pat Francisco will drop the ceremonial pucks for each boys’ high school game.

Pat Francisco, a former Denfeld standout and member of Denfeld’s Hall of Fame went on to skate for the Bulldogs at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 1963-1967. For over 30 years he has given back to the hockey community in Duluth and was instrumental in establishing the Heritage Center in west Duluth. Francisco will drop the puck for the Duluth Denfeld game at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Bob and Jerry Fryberger will represent the Fryberger family. Their parents, Bob and LaVerne, started the Glen Avon rink adjacent to their home over 60 years ago. In 1951, Bob Sr. gathered a group of neighborhood boys, including both Jerry and Bob Jr., and coached them to a Peewee national championship. The Fryberger family later built an indoor arena in their neighborhood that is still used today. The brothers will drop the puck for the Duluth East vs. Lakeville North game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Saturday’s Hockey Day festivities will begin with a short parade starting at 9 a.m. from the Bayfront Park entrance to the ice. Participants include Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, mascots for the participating schools, Nordy from the Minnesota Wild, Champ from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and Huskie of the Duluth Huskies, along with Duluth area youth hockey players.

Bayfront Park’s Pleasure Rink, a smaller complimentary outdoor ice sheet adjacent to the St. Luke’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine outdoor rink, will see all-day action as well, including a stream of Mite 1 games from 9:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. and an appearance by Duluth Area Special Sled Hockey (DASSH) team from 3- 4 p.m.

The evening will wrap up with an outdoor party starting at 7 p.m. in Bayfront Park hosted by Black Woods, featuring the Minnesota Wild-St. Louis Blues game on the big screen. The party has free admission and is open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association.

The main outdoor rink will see action continue throughout the afternoon, including a Wild sled hockey exhibition game, a Peewee AA match-up between Duluth East and Stillwater, and will culminated with the Duluth Police versus the Duluth Firefighters.

The FOX Sports North anchor desk will remain onsite through the evening, with broadcast talent providing live updates throughout the Gopher hockey and Minnesota Wild games.

Costs to produce the outdoor event are fully supported through sponsorships and in-kind donations. Nonfinancial partnerships with the City of Duluth and the DECC have provided site planning and infrastructure knowledge and support. All local Hockey Day Minnesota efforts are led by the Duluth Local Organizing Committee.

Hockey Day Minnesota was originated in 2007 by the Minnesota Wild to celebrate the game that has made Minnesota the State of Hockey. It is produced in partnership with FOX Sports North, Minnesota Hockey and the respective local community that serves as host each year. Previous locations include Baudette Bay (2007, 2008), Phalen Park (2009), Hermantown (2010), Moorhead (2011), Minnetonka (2012), Grand Rapids (2013), Elk River (2014) and Saint Paul (2015). For more information, visit here.

Tickets for Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota 2016 in Duluth are on sale now at wild.com/hockeyday. Proceeds from the event will benefit Duluth area youth hockey programs. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.hockeydayduluth.com.

About the Local Organizing Committee (LOC)

Duluth’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is a group of dedicated volunteers from local rinks who have committed to bringing Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota to Duluth with the purpose of celebrating Duluth’s rich hockey heritage and tradition.

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