If you’re a hockey fan, there could be worse places to be this weekend than Bemidji.
The 13th annual Hockey Day Minnesota, a celebration of our state’s hockey madness that is as much a promotional tool for Fox Sports North as it is a puck party, will be centered in this northwest Minnesota city of nearly 16,000.
While Saturday is the official “Hockey Day,” festivities begin Thursday near the Sanford Center on the south shore of Lake Bemidji, where teams will play on an outdoor rink and a hockey village has been set up to accommodate fans.
Thursday, the Bemidji High School girls will kick off play against Woodbury at 7 p.m. There’s college hockey on tap for Friday between Bemidji State and Michigan Tech. The big day is Saturday. Minnetonka and Andover, the top two boys’ teams in the most recent Class 2A state rankings, play at 9:30 a.m. The Bemidji State women take on Minnesota State Mankato at 1 p.m., and the Bemidji and Greenway boys’ teams play the final game on Lake Bemidji at 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on site or through Ticketmaster. All of Saturday’s action will be televised on FSN.
The week ahead in preps
Thursday: Minnetonka at Eden Prairie, 7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: A rare home-and-home between Minnesota hockey blue bloods Edina and Hill-Murray. The Pioneers are the host Friday at 7 p.m. at Aldrich Arena; the Hornets host Saturday at Braemar Arena at 7 p.m.
Saturday: Blaine at Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Edina vs. Wayzata (at Plymouth), 7 p.m.; Forest Lake at East Ridge, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Blake vs. Edina (at Braemar), 7 p.m. The long-awaited rematch between the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in Class 2A. Edina eked out a 4-3 victory when the teams met on Nov. 13. They could very likely meet again in the Section 6, 2A final.
Tuesday: Lakeville North at Shakopee, 7 p.m.; Columbia Heights at Holy Angels, 7 p.m.
Friday: Spring Lake Park at Park Center, 7 p.m.; Minnehaha Academy at Caledonia, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Hopkins at Eden Prairie, 5:30 p.m.; St. Michael-Albertville at Monticello, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday: DeLaSalle at Holy Angels, 7 p.m.
Friday: Eastview at Farmington, 7 p.m.