It's all in the family: Cousins set to face-off for Hockey Day Minnesota matchup
Lily Timmons, the starting goaltender for Stillwater, will compete against her cousin, Zoe Timmons, a forward and captain for White Bear Lake, on Saturday morning.
WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. — Hockey Day Minnesota is already a big deal to most people living in the state, but to the Timmons families, this year is going to be extra special.
Zoe and Lily Timmons are second cousins and they will be competing against each other at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for Hockey Day as Stillwater takes on White Bear Lake. Zoe and Lily's grandfathers were brothers, and their dad's, Brad and Mike, are first cousins.
Lily, a junior, is the starting goaltender for Stillwater, while Zoe is a forward and a junior captain for White Bear Lake.
"These guys have played against each other since they've been U8's and it's always been a fun thing for them," said Lily's mother, Kristin.
"It's been of course more fun because we've been talking about it as a family since it was announced," she added. "Brad (Zoe's father) texted us immediately and tagged us on Facebook and said 'It's a Timmons showdown!' or something like that."
"It's more neat too for the grandparents and extended family, they're all pumped up," said Zoe's father, Brad. "It's kind of like that calm before the storm thing, there's a lot of excitement in our entire house."
He added, "it's a little bit of a rivalry, but they handle it accordingly. Lily's going to focus on stopping pucks and Zoe will focus on leading her team. The puck will drop and the pieces will fall where they fall."
Zoe said that the group has definitely had some good-natured teasing at holidays when the two families are together ahead of the big game-day.
The fathers, Brad and Mike, are close first cousins, and both grew up playing high school hockey. Brad played at Centennial while Mike played at Roseville, but they didn't get the chance to play each other since the were a few years apart in age.
"It's about them. (Mike and I) both played high school hockey so we know the experience and everything it brings. This Hockey Day thing has grown into kind of like a winter holiday and everybody is coming out and it's just a neat thing for the whole community and the state," said Brad. "We're proud to have them (Zoe and Lily) out there."
Extended family members are likely to be heading to the big Hockey Day matchup on Saturday. Both of the girls are just excited to experience the once-in-a-lifetime game and to have family up in the stands.
"If anyone's going to score it probably hurts more if it's your cousin," said Kristin on having one of the cousins play the goaltender position. "But you would also be more happy if it's your cousin, so it's kind of a catch-22."
Stillwater and White Bear Lake have already played each other once this season, which resulted in a 2-0 win for the Ponies.
"That game was not very good for us so we're excited to get another chance," said netminder Lily. Stillwater is a top-10 team with a 17-4 record this year.
"They can say it was a bad game, but we showed that we can compete with them," said Zoe. White Bear Lake is 7-14 overall this season so far.
Zoe currently has nine points this season, which is fourth overall on her team, while Lily has a .920 save percentage over 21 games.
"Some of the TV stuff might make some girls a little nervous for the game, but I think it's going to be fun and it's cool that we're going to experience that," added Lily, who isn't too phased by the fact that the game will be broadcast live on Bally Sports North. "I don't care who's watching I'm just going to play my game."
It's even more special for Zoe's family, as White Bear Lake is the official host of the 2023 event.
"Every day I wake up I'm like 'three more days, two more days'..." said Zoe. "It's a really big opportunity for White Bear and I'm just excited for the opportunity. I'm not really scared about the game, it's just that the experience will be really cool; win or lose."
"A lot of people donated their time to make this possible," said Brad. "I would have never known everything that was needed to make this a go. There's a lot of good White Bear people supporting the girls and we're pumped."
Zoe was injured with ACL issues last season, so just being able to play again is a big deal for her and her family.
"It's excitement, it's a gratitude of being able to play ... to be out eight months was pretty challenging." said Zoe's father.
Although the Ponies are likely the favorite to win the game due to their record this year, don't count the Bears out quite yet.
"Their record doesn't indicate their overall culture and experience. They're really hard workers and they're doing it together, which is a life-skill that you can't replace." added Brad.
The "Timmons Family Showdown" is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, which is the very first game that day for the official Hockey Day Minnesota event. Even though both families will be cheering for their respective teams to win, they both just want to see their kids play well and to overall just have fun with the experience.