MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Friday night, “The Bank” will turn into “The Rink.” TCF Bank stadium, typically home to Gopher football, has been taken over by the state of hockey.
It’s called the Hockey City Classic, and WCCO wanted to know what it took to create the rink, plus who gets to skate on it.
In Minnesota we see TCF Bank Stadium, The Bank, usually full of football fans. And now there’s an ice rink in the middle of it.
“It’s really a unique setting,” said Drew Russell of INTERSPORT, the production company bringing the event to Dinkytown. “We couldn’t think of a better place to host outdoor hockey and the hockey city classic. Minneapolis and St. Paul deserve an event like this.”
There hasn’t been an outdoor game like this in 80 years, with both the Wild and Gophers playing indoors. The Cities may owe Meet Minneapolis, an association dedicated to Minneapolis events, for the honor of hosting the Hockey City Classic.
“Meet Minneapolis is thrilled to bring hockey back to our city,” said Kristen Montag from Meet Minneapolis. “There’s been some hockey, but this is the biggest event at the University of Minnesota.”
They’ve been setting up since Dec. 27. Hundreds of people have contributed, from shoveling to flooding. It’s a sight to see a rink in the middle of a football stadium.
University of Minnesota Associate Athletics Director Scott Ellison has been overseeing the construction. He has been with the University for 25 years and said he’s never seen anything like it.
“We’ve hosted U2. This is a similar set up. But really, we’ve haven’t seen anything like this. This is fantastic,” said Ellison.
The rink opened January with lots of events like high school games and an open skate. It all culminates Friday with a Gopher hockey finale. Both the women’s and men’s teams will play. The Gopher women will take on Mankato and the men will take on Ohio State.
“Couldn’t have it in a better place,” said Russell. “Under the lights, primetime. That’s where it deserves to be. To have this place rocking with 50,000 people under the lights celebrating the sport they love so much up here is really going to be fantastic.”
Tickets are still available starting at $15. More information is available here.