A bronze statue depicting a young hockey player was purposely toppled outside the home arena of the nation's top-ranked men's college team, and authorities in Mankato, Minn., are looking for whoever is responsible.

"Going for the Goal," a $16,000 statue that has sat at the main entrance to the Verizon Wireless Center home since 2012, was damaged around 12:45 a.m. Jan. 1, police said, just as people elsewhere downtown were celebrating the new year.

Police released two surveillance photos of a man they believe is the culprit. The images show him walking inside an entrance to a downtown building.

The city said a $1,000 reward is being offered for information that helps crack the case.

The statue was removed from the Hickory Street entrance for repairs, said Eric Jones, marketing manager for the Verizon Wireless Center, where the Minnesota State Mankato team plays its home games. The Mavericks are ranked No. 1 in the nation.

"Someone pulled on the statue, causing damage to its base while the statue fell to the ground," said Police Cmdr. Dan Schisel, who estimated the dollar amount of the vandalism at roughly $300.

The statue, the creation of Colorado artist Dee Clements, is part of a downtown sculpture walk collection.

"This happens too often," Clements said, referring to public art being vandalized. "It's aggravating. … Young, drunk people tend to do that sort of thing."

Thankfully, Clements added, the statue should be easily repairable because it is made of bronze, rather than marble or other softer material.

The hollow statue and its base stand about 40 inches tall and together weigh 200 to 250 pounds, Clements said.

It is one of about 18 casts made from the original sitting outside a rink in Paramount, Calif., near Los Angeles, the artist said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call 911 or contact police at 1-507-387-8780.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482