Outdoor hockey will take center stage along the banks of the St. Croix River this weekend in downtown Stillwater.
Unseasonably warm temperatures — and a forecasted rain shower — have temporarily closed the Stillwater Ice Castles, but Hockey Day Minnesota organizers say rain or shine a whole lot of Minnesota’s favorite past time will be played in Lowell Park.
Hockey Day Minnesota At a Glance
Friday Hockey Night
- Gates open at 2 p.m. Friday, with the festivities kicking off at 4 p.m. with a showdown between the Stillwater Police and Stillwater Fire Department.
- The Minnesota Whitecaps will take on the Korean National Team in a professional women’s hockey game at 6 p.m.
- The nightcap is an alumni game pitting the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers against the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Read more about this game and see the rosters on Wild.com.
#HDMN2017 (Saturday, Jan. 21)
- Gates open at 8 a.m.
- Saturday’s high school triple-header begins at 10 a.m. when Thief River Falls and Mahtomedi face off.
- The No. 1 ranked Stillwater boys team hosts Eden Prairie at 1 p.m.
- Stillwater and Minnetonka girls contest at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online or at Lowell Park (quantities are limited) on Hockey Day Minnesota.
An adult ticket is $35, and student tickets (ages 4-18) are $25.
Park and Rides
Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this post you either know how to park in downtown Stillwater, or you know you don’t want to deal with parking in downtown Stillwater.
So, in addition to the parking ramp, there will be a couple park-and-ride locations available to fans on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- The Stillwater fan bus takes off from Stillwater Area High School
- General fan parking at old Fury Motors dealership at 36 and Osgood
- Stillwater Junior High School (Minnetonka and Eden Prairie parking and fan bus)
- A bus will also run from Mahtomedi High School from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Nestled along the St. Croix River with the Stillwater Lift Bridge serving as a cinematic backdrop, the Hockey Day Minnesota rink is shaping up to be “the winter version of the iconic baseball field seen in the movie Field of Dreams when the puck drops Saturday. Yes, it’s that good,” Todd Smith wrote on Wild.com.
“One thing that Lowell Park brings to Hockey Day Minnesota is the intimate park setting,” said Tony Novalany, the Stillwater local organizing committee chairman. “The park is long and narrow. But we have set up every inch of the park for people to enjoy. With the lift bridge as a backdrop and the river bank on the other side, it’s going to be very scenic.”
Although the Ice Castles are closed for tours on Saturday, due to warm weather, they most definitely add a beautifully unique landscape to an already picturesque venue.
Two Jumbotrons were installed in the park — one is being used as a scoreboard and the other is being used so the overflow crowd can enjoy the game while sitting around the numerous fire pits in Lowell Park.
What it Took to Build the rink:
- More than 100 dump truckloads of dirt to level the playing area.
- Installation of temporary power poles
- 5 sets of 300-plus-seat bleachers were first installed along the riverside, everything else was built around that
- A special refrigerated mat with cooling coils was then installed as the foundation for the ice surface.
- Volunteers stepped got the boards in place.
- The rink was then flooded and the chiller mat was plugged in and powered up.
- Ice was painted, glass installed and new logos added to the boards.
- Lights and Jumbotrons erected