Inforum: The Lights in West Fargo to host 3rd annual Hockey Day in December
October 15, 2020
The Lights in West Fargo to host 3rd annual Hockey Day North Dakota in December
Written By: Carissa Wigginton | Oct 13th 2020 – 3pm.
Workers install advertising boards at the site of the inaugural Hockey Day North Dakota on Allen Field on the University of Jamestown campus in January 2019. John M. Steiner / The Rink Live
WEST FARGO — North Dakota hockey fans might want to mark their calendars for the first weekend in December. In less than two months, the Lights on Sheyenne 32 plaza will transform into a venue with an old-time hockey feel for a celebration of the sport.
The third annual Hockey Day North Dakota will be held Dec. 4-6 at the development near 32nd Avenue and Sheyenne Street South in West Fargo. Players from youth hockey to high school will lace up to play outdoors.
Hockey Day North Dakota will have a full schedule of events spanning the entire weekend with teams from around the state, but the event itself culminates Saturday, Dec. 5, said Mike Amundson, executive director of West Fargo Events, which manages the city-owned plaza.
“It’s not a tournament, it’s just a showcase and celebration of the sport that everyone involved in loves,” Amundson said. “It’ll be fun. The event draws people from all over the state of North Dakota and we’ll even draw into Minnesota a little bit.”
As of now, it looks like youth teams will kick off the event Friday and play into Saturday morning. High school teams will play Saturday afternoon into the evening. The youth teams will wrap up the weekend on Sunday. It’s still up in the air whether college teams will play, Amundson said. The University of Jamestown, Minot State and the University of Mary have taken part in the past. Teams, matchups and the official schedule will be announced soon.https://83b19398d8ab5f1c57ee946f873eef48.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
A rendering of the outdoor ice rink at The Lights on Sheyenne 32 plaza where the third annual Hockey Day North Dakota will be held Dec. 4-6 in West Fargo. The plaza will be installing the $700,000 outdoor ice sheet after it received a grant from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Special to The Forum
The Lights will be transformed into a hockey haven with warming houses, fire pits and fan festivities, Amundson said. There may not be wooden hockey sticks or old-school goalie masks, but the three-day event will bring back plenty of nostalgia.
“We’re gonna have all sorts of fun, nostalgic stuff. It’s always fun to watch the hockey games outside,” Amundson said. “It’s a totally different atmosphere than what people are used to inside the arena. Outdoor hockey has a whole lot of nostalgia associated with it. I mean, that’s where the sport started.”
The Lights plaza will be the first venue to host the outdoor event outside of Jamestown. It was previously held at the University of Jamestown’s Allen Field. Hockey Day North Dakota is hoping to move the event to different communities, like the neighboring Hockey Day Minnesota does each year.
Just west of the plaza, the West Fargo Sports Arena will also be full of activity.
The event, which had previously been held in January, was moved to early December to try to avoid frigid weather. The last Hockey Day North Dakota, played Jan. 17-19 of this year, had to have a makeup day scheduled because of blizzard conditions.
“As much as people love playing outside, they still don’t want it to be minus-25 out when they’re playing their hockey game,” Amundson said.
Amundson said local and statewide guidelines will be followed to set attendance numbers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. As the event inches closer, they’ll make the appropriate call depending what risk level Cass County is in, he said.
West Fargo Events, a nonprofit that manages public spaces in West Fargo, is working with the Fargo Angels hockey club and Hockey Day North Dakota to put on the event.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the city of West Fargo to really showcase everything that we’ve got to offer here,” Amundson said. “Not only with The Lights, but our community has gone through so much growth, and those growing pains that at times are sometimes tough. This is really gonna be an opportunity for West Fargo to shine.”