The feeling has returned to their fingers and toes. But the feeling of being part of a Minnesota tradition will last a lifetime. The Steele County Blades junior hockey team played the Minnesota Mullets on Sunday, January 23 at Blakeslee Field at Minnesota State University-Mankato to become the first-ever junior hockey game to be featured as part of Hockey Day Minnesota.

Many members of the Blades roster are from Minnesota, or other northern climates, and are accustomed to outdoor ice, but the HDM experience could be called a dream come true. And for some players, outdoor ice at home is a foreign concept.

Blades forward Connor Lee (Sydney, Australia) does not have outdoor ice at home. He was thrilled to be part of the festivities, "It was awesome. I really enjoyed it. Just a bit cold. We dealt with that and we won. Everything's awesome." [Click below for a full interview with the fourth-year player for Steele County.]

Steele County player Connor Lee

Steele County goalie Elliot Wrigley (Littleton, CO) likewise, did not have outdoor ice growing up. He enjoyed being part of history, "It was incredible. It was definitely a special game for us. The atmosphere was great. Playing outside is so much fun."

Blades goalie Elliot Wrigley

There appeared to be heaters near the player benches, but Lee said the only heat was in the penalty boxes. Wrigley indicated that cold air was blowing out of the units be the benches.

Upcoming schedule for the Steele County Blades: (Home in bold.)

  • Friday, January 28 at Wisconsin Rapids, 7 pm
  • Saturday, January 29 at Wisconsin Rapids, 7 pm
  • Sunday, January 30 at Dells Ducks, 1:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 3 at Minnesota Mullets, at Augsburg, 7:30 pm
  • Friday, February 4 vs. Dells Ducks, Four Seasons Centre, 7 pm
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Hockey Day Minnesota 2022, Mankato

Minnesota State University-Mankato hosted Hockey Day MN. The eight-day festival featured all levels from youth to Division I, including a junior game for the first time.

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