Hockey Day Minnesota is coming to Elk River’s famed Handke Pit.
Fox Sports North recently announced the site of its eighth annual celebration of all things hockey for 2014. Though the cable sports network broadcasts college and professional games as part of the day’s events, the outdoor high school hockey games serve as the centerpiece.
Two boys’ games and a girls’ game will be played at the Handke Pit. Times and teams will be finalized later.
Social media reaction to the announcement was swift among would-be players.
Sophomore forward Jake Jaremko wrote on Twitter, “Hockey day 2014 is going to be unreal #ThePit #Can’tWaitToPlayInIt.” Junior defenseman Blake Hillman tweeted, “Im so jacked!!!!!!!!! #HockeyDay14 #cantwait.”
Dedicated in 1925, the Handke Pit is a glacier-formed bowl stadium that will be set up for more than 2,000 seats. It has been the home for thousands of hockey players, including NHL players Paul Martin, Dan Hinote, Joel Otto and Nate Prosser. The venue also is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Elk River superintendent Mark Bezek, in a news release, called Handke Pit “the birthplace of Elk River Hockey.”
In this year’s Hockey Day Minnesota spotlight game, host Grand Rapids defeated Benilde-St. Margaret’s on the frozen waters of cold and windy Pokegama Lake.
North Suburban’s Engel shines
Tyler Engel, a junior on North Suburban’s adapted floor hockey team, dominated the CI (cognitively impaired) Division to help the Cougars win their first state tournament title last week.
He scored 16 times in three games, pushing his season total to 61 goals. Engel tallied nine of his team’s 14 goals in the quarterfinals against Winona. He added four goals in the semifinals against Dakota United.
In the championship game against Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville, Engel posted a hat trick that included the eventual game-winning goal.
Five gymnasts honored
The Northwest Suburban Conference honored five gymnasts with all-conference honors in the all-around this season.
The gymnasts are: Kaylee Jondahl of Elk River, Nicole Stott of Centennial, Taylor Guckeen of Champlin Park, Rachel Bailey of Maple Grove and Amanda Gullord of Osseo.
The conference also bestowed all-conference honors on 17 other gymnasts from eight schools.
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574