Q: What is being done to prepare for the Hockey Day Minnesota event on Saturday?
A: Hockey Day Minnesota is an annual event designed to showcase The State of Hockey, Minnesota. Elk River was selected as the host city for the eighth annual Hockey Day Minnesota event, with picturesque “Handke Pit” as the venue. The event is expected to draw several thousand people and will receive national coverage.
A lot of planning and preparation goes in to an event of this size. In addition to the Hockey Day Minnesota steering committee that planned the event, a work group composed of representatives of the various Elk River city departments, Sherburne County Emergency Services and Elk River Area School District was formed several months ago. The mission of this work group, named Operation Penalty Box, is to plan for security, traffic control, emergency response and other contingencies that may occur during Hockey Day. The work group is chaired by John Cunningham, Elk River’s fire chief and emergency manager. Preparations have been made for everything from vehicle lockouts to evacuations or helicopter landings. Additional police officers, police reserves, firefighters and EMS will be on hand in or around the venue.
Vehicle access to the venue is controlled by road closures on Main Street and Norfolk Avenue. Anyone wanting to enter the Handke Pit must present either a ticket or worker’s pass. The Police Department will be providing updates to the public on our Facebook page throughout the day.
This event will be an excellent opportunity to evaluate our incident management capabilities. Our hope is that Hockey Day Minnesota goes off without a hitch and that everyone has a great time in Elk River. If an emergency does occur, we will be well prepared to respond.
Have a fun and safe Hockey Day Minnesota! — Brad Rolfe, Elk River police chief