MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Mullets (USPHL) are taking to the outdoor ice! The team announced Monday they will be competing against the Steele County Blades as a part of the Hockey Day Minnesota 2022 festivities. The Mullets and Blades will become the first junior hockey programs to be scheduled as part of the Hockey Day Minnesota (HDM) lineup.
“What a tremendous opportunity!” said Mullets forward Elliott Van Orsdel of Eveleth, MN. “We’re very fortunate to be a part of something as special as HDM. As a homegrown Minnesota kid, I know how important this day is here. I’m so thankful and can’t wait for the game!”
The Mullets and Blades will play an outdoor contest at Blakeslee Field on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. Throughout the weekend, teams across various levels of hockey will be competing, starting with the Mankato East and Mankato West Girls High School Hockey game on Wednesday, January 19. The weekend will also feature high school games between the Mankato East and Mankato West Boys Hockey programs, Andover and Edina Girls Hockey programs, and East Grand Forks and Prior Lake Boys Hockey programs. At the collegiate level, Minnesota State University’s Men’s and Women’s programs will host the University of St. Thomas on the outdoor ice as well, with the Men’s game on Saturday, January 22 and the Women’s game on Sunday, January 23.
Saturday’s events build up to the evening game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“As soon as I found out (about playing on Hockey Day Minnesota), I was thrilled,” said Mullets defenseman Jacob VonTersch, a Luverne, MN native. “To be able to carry on one of the biggest traditions in the State of Hockey with all of my teammates is going to be an unreal experience.”
Goaltender Noah Schuck of Aurora, MN echoed the sentiment, adding that he is “looking forward to playing outdoors and making memories that will last a lifetime.”
Hockey Day Minnesota (HDM) has been held since 2007 and is a statewide celebration of hockey, akin to Hockey Day in Canada. A joint effort between Minnesota Hockey, FSN (now Bally Sports North), and the Minnesota Wild, along with a different local host community annually, makes Hockey Day Minnesota one of the most-watched hockey events of the year. Previous Hockey Day Minnesota host cities include Baudette, St. Paul, Hermantown, Moorhead, Minnetonka, Grand Rapids, Elk River, Duluth, Stillwater, St. Cloud, Bemidji, Minneapolis, and Roseville.
“Hockey Day Minnesota is truly special, and having the chance to play in it twice, that’s unbelievable!” said defenseman Gage Everson, who is also from Eveleth and played for Eveleth High School against Duluth Denfeld at Hockey Day Minnesota in 2016. “I’m looking forward to skating on the outdoor ice again with some of my best friends, having fun, and hopefully getting a win!”
“Competing in Hockey Day Minnesota is one of those bucket list items that several coaches have,” Mullets head coach Chris Walby said. “We’re so excited. Since moving to this state, I’ve followed and been a big fan of Hockey Day Minnesota. Our boys and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to play in this venue and thank the Blades ownership and my friend (Blades head coach) Nick Adamek for providing the opportunity.”
The Mullets play their home games at Augsburg Ice Arena. For home game admission information, contact the Mullets’ social media pages or email Coach Walby at ChrisWalbyHockey@gmail.com.