Q: First, I want to express how impressed I am with the spectacle that Hockey Day Minnesota was at Mankato. I guess the event was a great success. Everyone in the community should be proud of everyone who worked so hard to put it all together. The atmosphere reminded me of those winter carnival ice castles in the subway of our past.
I would like to know how many people attended, how many attendees came from outside the Mankato area, how many people played on the ice, TV ratings for the Maverick men’s hockey game, the did the event recoup its costs, etc.? Hockey Day Mankato has really raised the bar and will be tough for the next town.
A: Lots of questions here about Hockey Day Minnesota, which Mankato transformed into Hockey Eight-Days Minnesota by becoming the first city in southern Minnesota to host the annual celebration of the best game you can name (after baseball).
From Jan. 16-23, the event centered on a temporary rink on Minnesota State University’s Blakeslee Stadium football field and culminated in a Division I college hockey game between the Mavericks and St.Thomas. But organizers tried to create a winter carnival atmosphere with hockey as the magnet – bringing plenty of wood-burning fireplaces, slabs of ice for family skating, food and drink vendors, fireworks and a huge heated tent offering three nights of live music.
Despite some brutal wind chills and a few snowstorms, the results were damn good.
Organizers did not have an exact attendance figure, as many youth hockey games earlier in the week did not require tickets. Around 22,500 people took part in the full spectrum of festivities over the week.
Ticket sales totaled $295,000 – generated primarily by the January 22 slate of games culminating in the win for the Maverick men’s team.
Of the ticket buyers, more than half were from outside Mankato-North Mankato, said David Wittenberg, co-chairman of the organizing committee.
“We can share that around 58% of attendees with tickets came from postcodes other than 56001/56003,” he said.
The local Convention and Visitors Bureau does not have specific figures on the impact of Hockey Day on hotels, bars and restaurants, although hotel room usage has increased, Brittany said. Junck, Head of Marketing and Communications for Greater Mankato Growth and Visit Mankato.
“I was able to confirm that hotel demand during the week of Hockey Day Minnesota increased 18% from 2020 and 10% from 2019,” she said.
Mankato has truly increased the number of outdoor games, particularly by youth teams, compared to other communities that have served as hosts since the inception of Hockey Day in 2007. For eight days, the Blakeslee Rink hosted games featuring 38 youth hockey teams made up of more than 1,000 boys and girls players, Wittenberg said, “including each of our local youth hockey association teams, but also 16 traveling teams from all over southern Minnesota.”
Twelve high school teams also experienced hockey at Blakeslee, including boys’ and girls’ teams from JV and Mankato East and Mankato West universities, totaling 275 players.
Add another 120 college hockey players for men’s and women’s games featuring the Mavericks.
There were also games involving four adult recreation teams (40 skaters), two MSU alumni teams (nearly 100 participants), and a pair of “Community Night” games that included 30 community “hockey players” and nearly 50 veterans associated with the Minnesota Warriors. teams.
So, approximately 1,600 people of various ages and levels played hockey on the rink.
Ask Us Guy twice tried to get viewership numbers for high school and college games broadcast by Bally Sports North, the regional sports network. But after more than a week of waiting for an answer, it looks like he’s going to sniff the grades issue.
Finally, the event was successful in raising funds to grow the game of hockey in the Mankato area, thanks to ticket purchasers and substantial corporate and private donations.
Nearly $450,000 will be donated to a dedicated fund administered by the Mankato Area Foundation for future youth hockey programs and facility development. And the Mavericks men’s team will receive a $100,000 donation, Wittenberg said.
“We also made local nonprofit contributions to the ECHO Food Shelf and FOCP Backpack Food program as part of our Community Night celebration and programming,” he said.
Contact us at The Free Press, 418 S. Second St., Mankato, MN 56001. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to [email protected]; put Ask Us in the subject line.