Monday, June 22, 2009

HOCKEY DAY MINNESOTA TO HERMANTOWN

It might seem like a total ripoff of the highly successful "Hockey Day Canada" event that CBC puts on every year, but Fox Sports North has hit a home run with Hockey Day Minnesota.

The fourth annual event will have a decidedly local feel to it on January 23, 2010. Here is the release from Fox Sports North:
Fox Sports North, in conjunction with the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild, announced today a cooperative effort to celebrate the Fourth Annual Hockey Day Minnesota with a full day of hockey programming, including five telecasts of games taking place at three separate locations on Saturday, January 23, 2010. The announcement was made this morning at Hermantown High School.

Hockey Day Minnesota 2010 on Fox Sports North will include over 16 hours of local hockey-related programming designed as a celebration of the game from peewees to pros. The city of Hermantown will serve as the background for the three high school games featured in the Hockey Day Minnesota 2010 line up.

Hockey Day Minnesota coverage will also include a Minnesota Wild game from Xcel Energy Center, as well as the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers against the St. Cloud State Huskies. A complete list of games and programming schedule will be released at a later date.

Outdoor Games at Hermantown High School
10:00 a.m.​Eden Prairie/Hermantown (boys)
1:30 p.m.​Hopkins/Duluth-Marshall (boys)
4:30 p.m.​Duluth/Hermantown (girls)

According to Nielsen Media Research, FOX Sports North received top ratings for their coverage of Hockey Day Minnesota 2009, including record-breaking ratings during the first hour of Hockey Day programming and their highest-rated high school hockey and Gopher game of the season. The day-long event included over 20 hours of hockey-related programming, seven games from five locations and required over 100 FOX Sports North employees. The regional network balanced three production trucks stationed at Phalen Park, Xcel Energy Center and the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, a total of 20 cameras, seven on-air reporters and ten play-by-play/game analyst duos throughout the day.

FOX Sports North reaches more than 2 million homes throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota and telecasts nearly 2,600 hours of locally produced programming per year. The Emmy Award-winning regional sports network provides comprehensive coverage of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, MLB’s Minnesota Twins, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx as well as the University of Minnesota athletic events.

The Minnesota Wild is in its ninth NHL season after bringing hockey at its highest-level back to Minnesota for the 2000-01 campaign. The Wild claimed its first-ever Northwest Division title in 2007-08 and has sold out all 365 games played at Xcel Energy Center in franchise history.
Surely, it will be a bit on the corny side, as Hockey Day Canada usually is. However, this is an awesome idea, Fox Sports North does a super job promoting and carrying it, and you can't really go wrong with a day devoted to hockey.

For the locals, it should be noted that UMD's men's team will host Bemidji State at the DECC that night at 7pm. If you're not a Gopher fan (and why the hell would you be?), this sounds like a great way to cap off the day.

Nonetheless, this is awesome news, and great promotion for this wonderful sport.

Is it hockey season yet?

(NOTE: The Duluth News Tribune reports that the boys' games are flipped around from what you see above.)

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