For those who make the first tire-tracks in the snow at 5:30 a.m. to take their kid, their neighbor’s kid and her best friend to practice. For those who holler, “Take off your skate guards!” before a child steps out on the ice – saving them from an embarrassing fall. For those who sit on a cold metal bench on a frigid winter’s day in order to cheer when a first goal is scored. For those who lace ‘em up, grab a shovel and clear a patch on the frozen pond while the sun sets and the moon rises. For those who have volunteered their time to share their love of the game with others. For those who have boiled a mouth guard on the kitchen stove alongside their dinner. For those who have chased a puck deep into a neighbors yard after an errant slap shot. For those who have bought an extra garden hose to flood a backyard rink for a glass-like surface that would rival a Zamboni...
For those who have grown up in the State of Hockey, Hockey Day Minnesota celebrates more than just a day. It celebrates who we are.
Those warm-hearted souls with cold fingers pulling skate laces tight. Those offering up their stick so that the new neighborhood kid can play the next shift. Those girls showing the boys a thing or two at the local park rink. Those dedicated to learning the game and passing it on from generation to generation.
It’s the feeling of excitement you get when stepping onto an empty outdoor rink at night. With the lights shining down and your breath visible in the air, you can’t help but laugh when your puck clangs off the metal cage of the goal. For it is in those moments that you can deke like or spin like your favorite player. Your skates cut through the ice as you imagine cutting through the ice at Xcel Energy Center. Your friends join in and become linemates. Heck, even strangers join in and become linemates! It is in those carefree hours spent playing shinny that our state’s true hockey pioneers are born.
It’s the feeling of watching your team or your kids’ team or the Wild skate their hearts out. Of knowing that you are there, and a part of the atmosphere. It’s throwing your arms up with each goal scored and high-fiving those around you.
Across Minnesota, we salute the hockey moms and dads, youth teams, organizations and fans that devote time and energy into making this sport great. Each of you plays a key role, and we couldn’t be more proud to have you on our Team of 18,000 and in the State of Hockey.