by Joni Astrup
“I think it was one of the greatest community events ever held in the city of Elk River.”
That’s how Mayor John Dietz summed up Hockey Day Minnesota 2014, which drew thousands of people to the Handke Pit on Saturday, including Gov. Mark Dayton and Craig Leipold, owner of the Minnesota Wild.
The mayor talked about Hockey Day Minnesota during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
He said it was very well organized. A steering committee and 10 different committee groups worked on the event. Dietz thanked the hundreds of volunteers, as well as all the people who participated and attended. In particular, he commended Council Member Matt Westgaard and parks volunteer Dave Anderson for co-chairing the site committee. City Administrator Cal Portner and the mayor were also very involved in the event.
And, the weather was favorable with temperatures in the 20s.
People from Fox Sports North and the Minnesota Wild had nothing but outstanding comments about the event in Elk River, Dietz said. The location in Handke Pit set Elk River apart from previous host cities, where the activities were typically held on frozen lakes.
Elk River got a lot of positive publicity from Hockey Day Minnesota, Dietz said.
“I said from the beginning that this is way more than about hockey. This is about promoting our city, and I think we put our best foot forward,” he said.
City Administrator Portner summed it up: “The entire day was perfect.”
The city, Elk River Area School District, Elk River Youth Hockey and the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce were major partners in putting on Hockey Day.