There are myriad reasons why Hockey Day Minnesota will be special for Stillwater head coach Matt Doman. His Ponies -- with just one loss on an otherwise spotless schedule -- will host an outdoor game under the lights in Lowell Park. The night before, he'll play in the Minnesota-Wisconsin alumni game on the same sheet. Stillwater will envelop the local spotlight for much of the next week.
And his wife, Annie, who is pregnant with the couple's third child, might have a newborn in the stands that day.
Annie's due date is Feb. 1, but because their first two children -- Cashton, 5, and Tucker, 4 -- came early, she has a hunch that the baby will be born right around Jan. 21.
"When we found out the due date, I just kind of assumed that the baby's gonna be born on Hockey Day," Annie said. "It feels ironic that our date is so close. Certainly Matt's whole family is a hockey family and we're very involved in the hockey community here."
Matt plans to be behind the bench that day when his Ponies take on the Eden Prairie Eagles, but he has a back-up plan just in case the baby decides to make his arrival.
"I have my phone on me and my keys in my pocket at all times," Matt said. "We'll have a whole crowd of Domans in the crowd that can wave me down if something happens."
The couple will be adding another boy to the family to outnumber Annie four to one. They said they'd picked out a few names, but nothing set in stone. In fact, they've got an idea if the baby's birthday happens to be the same day of the statewide hockey celebration.
"If the baby comes on Hockey Day, we're leaning towards naming him Nordy," Matt joked.