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HDM 2019: Referee adds second chapter to Hockey Day history books

Former Roseau Ram Tyler Landman played on previous coldest Hockey Day in 2008 and officiated Saturday's new record-low-temperature event

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe / Wild.com

BEMIDJI -- If you like your Hockey Day Minnesotas cold, be sure to invite Tyler Landman.

More than a decade after he played in the coldest Hockey Day on record, Landman was a part of history once again on Saturday when he officiated the Bemidji-Greenway game to wrap up the day's events next to Lake Bemidji

Landman played for Roseau 11 years ago in the second edition of Hockey Day, an event that took place on Baudette Bay.

At least that was the plan.

With temperatures ranging in the teens below zero and wind chills more than 20 degrees colder than that, players weren't sure whether the game would go on outside or not.

"There were a lot of unknowns," Landman said. "We thought it might get moved [inside] and it kind of felt like it went back and forth with our [athletic director] and their A.D. It was tough to prepare, you just woke up and knew it was going to be cold."

While the adults in charge of the situation debated whether it was even safe for the show to go on, there was no doubt about what the kids wanted to do.

They wanted to play ... on the bay.

"We were looking forward to the experience, and it was a memorable one," Landman said. "It was really cold and at times, it was kind of miserable, especially during the TV timeouts. But it was definitely one of the most fun experiences I've ever had."

Tweet from @fsnorth: Until today, Tyler Landman could say he played on the coldest @HockeyDayMN ever. Almost 11 years later, he's here in @VisitBemidji as an official! And it's colder! #HDM2019 pic.twitter.com/g6zAgH3e2D

The circumstances that brought Landman to Hockey Day 2019 presented by Wells Fargo came to be in October, but the wheels were set in motion three years ago when he moved back to his hometown of Roseau to start his career as a civics teacher.

After graduating from Roseau High School in 2008, Landman went on to play two years of college hockey at Providence College. 

He then began officiating in the minor-pro level, working in the American Hockey League. First he lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, then Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the draw of returning home with his young family became too appealing to pass up.

So, three years ago, Landman returned to Roseau and became a ninth-grade civics instructor while also officiating high school hockey. 

When his association was given the Hockey Day game four months ago, and Landman saw his name on the schedule for the game in Bemidji, it offered him a rare opportunity to get a second chance to bask in the glow of Minnesota's hockey holiday.

But Landman has lived in Northern Minnesota long enough to know that the middle of January here can get awfully cold. 

Initial forecasts a week or two ago had temperatures ranging in the high-teens to low-20s above zero -- ideal conditions for outdoor hockey.

"Then the next day I checked it and the highs were below zero," Landman said. "Then I started to get a little nervous."

So, Landman started to break out the cold weather gear, drawing on his experience from Baudette Bay in 2008.
 

[Hockey Day home page]
 

He threw the extra gloves in, along with the heavy hat. But the very first addition was something he couldn't wear back then.

"I've got my Milwaukee heated vest on. That's the first thing," Landman said. "And I had three batteries for it and was changing them out."

Landman was also quick to point out how grateful he was to have the 4:30 p.m. game, where temperatures had reached the single-digits below zero ... balmy by comparison to the 26-below at puck drop of the day's first game between Andover and Minnetonka.

That made Bemidji the new coldest Hockey Day on record ... but a title that will still include one member of the old Roseau crew.

"I'm so fortunate to be from the State of Hockey. I was lucky enough to play college hockey out east, but it's just a whole different animal here in Minnesota," Landman said. "Being a part of Hockey Day in Bemidji is very special and I'm very fortunate to be a part of it."

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