The East Grand Forks Senior High boys hockey program has had plenty to celebrate during the last decade.
In 2014 and 2015, it won its first-ever state championships. In 2017, it sent its first alum to the NHL when Tucker Poolman debuted with the Winnipeg Jets. Last year, East Grand Forks finished runner-up for Kraft's Hockeyville USA, earning $30,000 for rink renovations.
Now, the Green Wave can add another memorable event to the calendar.
For the first time since Hockey Day Minnesota began in 2007, East Grand Forks will be a part of it.
The Senior High boys team will play against Prior Lake at Blakeslee Field in Mankato at 1 p.m. on Jan. 22. It will be regionally televised on Bally Sports North.
"I think it's obviously extremely exciting for our hockey program and our whole community to finally be a part of this great day," Senior High coach Tyler Palmiscno said. "It's just another exciting thing for our program. If you look at the last 10-15 years, our program has taken steps, obviously, with some success we've had and some things we've done internally. To finally put that on display will be great."
Outdoor games have been a staple of Hockey Day Minnesota.
It started on Baudette Bay in 2007 and 2008. It has played at other outdoor locations including Lake Pokegama near Grand Rapids and Lake Bemidji. But this year will be the first time it has been played at a football stadium. Blakeslee Field (capacity 7,500) is home for the Minnesota State-Mankato football team.
There will be three games played at Blakeslee Field on Jan. 22: a girls game between Edina and Andover at 9:30 a.m., the boys game between the Green Wave and Prior Lake at 1 p.m. and a men's college game between Division-I newcomer St. Thomas and NCAA Frozen Four semifinalist MSU-Mankato at 4:30 p.m.
The final televised game of the day will be the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center.
Palmiscno and some Green Wave players made the trip to Mankato on Saturday for the official announcement.
"After the announcement, we drove over to the stadium," Palmiscno said. "It's going to be an awesome setting. It's a cool stadium. I think it's going to be a pretty cool atmosphere for a hockey game."
The Green Wave were initially selected to be a part of last year's Hockey Day Minnesota event, but the coronavirus pandemic spoiled that. Palmiscno said they're excited they still get to participate.
"(Hockey Day Minnesota) has been going on for almost 15 years now," Palmiscno said. "We've always wanted to be a part of it, probably like every program in the state."
The Green Wave are coming off of a Section 8A title and a trip to the Minnesota state semifinals. Several key players on that team were not seniors, including UND commit Jaksen Panzer, UND commit Trey Ausmus, Caleb Schmiedeberg, Zach Stocker, Justin Overgaard and Grady Magner.
"Obviously, they're extremely excited," Palmiscno said of his players. "Every year, we seem to play somewhere when this day is going on. If you're on the bus, you see kids watching the live feed throughout the day. For these kids to finally be a part of it, it makes it that much more special."
Hockey Day Minnesota 2021
On Jan. 22
Games televised live on Bally Sports North
9:30 a.m. -- Edina vs. Andover girls (Blakeslee Field, Mankato)
1 p.m. -- East Grand Forks Senior High vs. Prior Lake boys (Blakeslee Field, Mankato)
4:30 p.m. -- St. Thomas vs. MSU-Mankato men (Blakeslee Field, Mankato)
8 p.m. -- Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild (Xcel Energy Center)