With Hockey Day Minnesota in the rearview mirror, the time to see successes and setbacks is now.
In total, the event was a success. Fans from the community were able to convene around Blakeslee Stadium to celebrate one of the core tenets of being a Minnesotan, hockey.
With events like the community games, PeeWee games, and the celebrity game, fans and players showed up to experience a potentially once in a lifetime chance to skate on a football field.
This event was a great opportunity for the Mankato community to show off as real contenders as hockey supporters in Minnesota, especially with the ever-increasing level of play put on by our men’s hockey team.
There are some areas of critique to be talked about for Hockey Day Minnesota, as it was not perfect.
The first problem we should address is the disparity in support for the Men’s Hockey team versus the Women’s Hockey team.
Disparity in support for gendered teams has long been a problem, with large crowds flocking to watch men’s sports and much smaller crowds at women’s events. There are a few reasons that this might be the case, including the success of the team, media coverage, and the demographic of the fanbase.
There is a lack of interest from fans to watch women’s sports, particularly hockey. While it is easy to put this blame on the fans, it is vital to analyze how these games are presented as well.
For Minnesota Hockey Day, we saw games every single day of the week, with the week climaxing in the Men’s Hockey game. Fireworks, live music, a televised broadcast, and a crowd of over 10,000.
Then, the day after, the women’s team played to a much smaller crowd, almost treated as an afterthought.
We want to see the women’s program continue to grow and gain in popularity, but that will not happen if they continue to reside in the shadow of the men’s team.
Fans will find value in the women’s team if we treat the team with value. If they get scheduled to play on the last day, with free admission, fans will feel as if there is little value in attending.
The other concern is the lack of programming for students of MSU. There was originally only one event that was designed for students of the University, and that was a free skate night. This event would have been a great time for students to experience and get involved with Hockey Day, however, it was the only event that was canceled throughout the week.
University faculty and staff have been extremely gracious to allow for this event to be held here, with traffic congestion and an entire parking lot being put out of commission for a tent set up. It would have been nice to see the student experience be more of a priority during the week.
In total, Hockey Day Minnesota was an amazing event that we should hope to see something like this happen here again, however, in the future, we hope to see these issues addressed.
Header Photo: (/The Reporter)