Thursday, Jan. 20 was marked as Community Night for the Hockey Day Minnesota scene, as the Minn. Wounded Warriors Game and the Southern Minn. Celebrity Game took place during sub-zero temperatures. First to take the Hockey Day ice were the Wounded Warrior players, who had compiled both of their teams solely of injured war veterans.
The Minnesota Warriors have been working as a nonprofit organization with the goal of bringing injured or disabled veterans together through the sport of hockey. The Warriors continuously try to raise awareness for the veteran’s issues and provide services to help integrate the veterans back into civilian life.
The games the Warriors play help the group train and work hard together with the end being a common goal.
It was an amazing scene as both teams took the ice, both wearing creatively themed jerseys in respect to wounded veterans. The Warriors represented themselves differently on both sides of the ice, while one team wore camo-themed jerseys and the other, Minnesota Wild-themed.
Arik Matson served as the honorary puck drop veteran. Matson was shot in the line of duty during his service as a Waseca police officer in 2020 and each of the players did their due diligence shaking his hand after he dropped the puck for their outdoor game.
Following the Wounded Warriors game was the Southern Minn. Celebrity Game which dropped the puck around 8:00 p.m. that night. The game was just as it sounded, with Southern Minn. celebrities filling the rosters of both teams.
Behind the benches the two teams were coached by top-notch talent in Jeff “Stunt Monkey” Lang from Radio Mankato and Jess Blais from Alpha Media.
Among the other celebrities filling both the teams was Minnesota State’s own Tim Marshall, the MSU Associate Director of Athletics.
A portion of the ticket sales for the game were pledged to local charities such as Feeding Our Communities Partners Backpack Program and the ECHO Food Shelf in support of solving hunger in the Mankato Community.
The game finished off with a final score of 6-3 in favor of the Mankato Clinic team over River’s Edge. Both teams represented Hockey Day Minnesota with Hockey Day themed jerseys to commemorate the event.
Header photo: The Wounded Warriors and Southern Minnesota Celebrities took the ice on Thursday to raise awareness for non-profit charities.