Here's an idea: Prep showdown on Amsoil ice
Two weeks ago, local high school teams participated in a slew of holiday tournaments scattered across Minnesota. Let's keep four of them under one roof next year. Now that Amsoil Arena is the epicenter of all things hockey in Duluth, why not pit ...
Two weeks ago, local high school teams participated in a slew of holiday tournaments scattered across Minnesota.
Let's keep four of them under one roof next year.
Now that Amsoil Arena is the epicenter of all things hockey in Duluth, why not pit Duluth Denfeld, Duluth East, Duluth Marshall and Hermantown against each other in a frigid four-team battle royale?
Local hockey fans would flip their breezers.
That kind of event would attract more hockey fanatics to Amsoil Arena than the Duluth East-Duluth Central game on Jan. 3, when the Greyhounds defeated the Trojans 7-1 in front of 4,478 in the brand-spanking-new arena. A crowd of 6,000-plus is realistic for a doubleheader featuring Denfeld-Hermantown and East-
Marshall, for example.
Central (which will revert to Denfeld next year), Marshall and Hermantown play each other in the regular season as members of the Lake Superior Conference. East does not. The Greyhounds were blocked from joining the LSC last year.
A few years ago, Marshall coach Brendan Flaherty floated the idea of a four-team Duluth tournament to raise money for charity. The idea didn't gain much traction, but it's time to revisit the idea.
Why not keep our city's local hockey programs in town for a holiday tournament? It would save a nice chunk of change in traveling and hotel costs for the schools and their fans, and give Duluth a holiday tournament centerpiece at Amsoil Arena.
Right now, East, Central, Hermantown and Marshall are all involved in separate tournaments that week (East and Hermantown out of town, and Central and Marshall in Duluth), so those traditions might be hard to change. Another hurdle is the Minnesota State High School League's one-tournament-per-season rule.
Still, if a holiday tournament featuring the Greyhounds, Hilltoppers, Hunters and Hawks can't come to fruition, why not put together a doubleheader featuring those squads? The matchups could change each season.
Call it Duluth's version of Boston's Beanpot Tournament, which features Boston University, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern competing in an all-city college hockey tourney over two Monday nights each February.
Citywide bragging rights would be on the line, and fans would finally get to see a couple of matchups missing from team schedules for several years: Duluth East vs. Duluth Marshall and Hermantown vs. Duluth East.
If a four-team event doesn't seem big enough, it could include neighboring teams such as Superior, Proctor, Grand Rapids and Hibbing-Chisholm.
Potential sponsors would line up past the William A. Irvin ore boat to be part of such a high-profile event, and fans would cram into every seat at Amsoil Arena before the first puck was dropped. Think about how much popcorn and soft drinks would be sold and consumed?
It would be the local hockey event of the season, providing more excitement, emotion, braggadocio and tradition in our city than any other winter happening. Players, coaches and fans would circle those dates on their calendars each year in anticipation of the annual Twin Ports tryst.
What's not to like?
OK, Greyhounds, Hilltoppers, Hunters and Hawks, the puck's on your ice. Let's set some dates.
Contact News Tribune sports editor Rick Lubbers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 723-5317.