Hockey Day Minnesota 2023

Charlie Rapheal, Editor

As 2023 rolls in and a new semester at school starts, the annual Hockey Day Minnesota celebration is also upon us. For those unfamiliar, Hockey Day Minnesota is an annual event that takes place all across Minnesota and celebrates the sport in our state with outdoor hockey. Over the years, it has grown into a multi-day showcase, and continues to feature a variety of affairs. Each year, Hockey Day Minnesota takes place at a new location somewhere across the state, allowing different cities and towns to host. 

The first ever Hockey Day Minnesota was in 2007 and took place in Baudette Bay near the border between the US and Canada. It featured 3 games. The first was a high school game between the Lake of the Woods and St. Paul Johnson hockey teams. The second was a men’s NCAA game between Minnesota and Denver. The final game considered part of the first Hockey Day Minnesota was the Wild game vs the Dallas Stars at the Xcel Energy Center. Since 2007, the annual event has grown and began to feature more and more games and events. In 2012, the first girls game to be featured at a Hockey Day Minnesota was played on Lake Minnetonka. In 2018, it grew to a two day event and featured games on both Friday and Saturday. 

Hockey Day Minnesota 2023 is taking place in White Bear Lake this year at Polar Lakes Park. Spanning January 26 – 29, the event features a long weekend filled with a variety of activities. 

Starting on Thursday, the gates open at 4:30 pm followed by a 5:30 pm Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony will feature the VFW Post 1782 – WBL Color Guard, as well as the Forest Lake Girls Choir. The first game, right after the ceremony, will feature the Forest Lake and Cretin-Derham Hall girls high school teams. After that, there is a ‘Celebrity Game’ featuring Ryan Carter (who graduated from White Bear Lake), Paul Fletcher, and others. Then, from 7:30-10:30 Arch Allies will be performing in the warming house. 

Friday starts with the KFAN Power Trip Morning Show, and then another, similar Opening Ceremony. At 5:30, the men’s St. Johns vs Augsburg teams play, and at 7:30 there is a White Bear Lake Alumni Game. Performing Friday night is the band Good for Gary. 

HDM 2020

Saturday is the actual, official Hockey Day Minnesota, and is packed with events. In the warming house, there is music all day starting at 10:00 am featuring Chester Bay, Dave Burkhart, and Tim Sigler Band. On the ice, there is the Stillwater vs White Bear Lake girls at 9:30 am, Hermantown vs Mahtomedi boys at 1:00 pm and Hill Murray vs White Bear Lake boys at 4:30 pm. There are fireworks to follow, and the games are concluded with the Minnesota Wild vs the Buffalo Sabres at the Xcel Energy Center. 

Sunday is the Hockey Changes Lives Day and features different charities and foundations that focus on providing kids the opportunity to play hockey. Among these are the Herb Brooks Foundation, Sled Hockey, the United Heroes League, the Minnesota Warriors and an open skate. The St. Paul School of Rock and Jake Nelson Band are both performing Sunday as well. 

Tickets for the event and the opportunity to celebrate hockey across Minnesota are on sale now, and can also be purchased at the gate. There are weekend passes, as well as individual day passes for sale.