ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — After a long winter, it’s almost state tournament time for a number of sports.

The Girls’ State Hockey Tournament is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and play begins Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center. It kicks off a very busy month ahead in St. Paul.

For some businesses, March Madness actually begins in February.

Teddy Cheesebrough is an assistant coach for the Centennial Boys Hockey team that played in last year’s state tournament. But as someone who also works in downtown St. Paul, Cheesebrough says the city is the real winner.

“You see that energy down here and kids are here from Luverne and Marshall and Ely, and whether it’s wrestling or girls’ hockey or boys’ hockey, the atmosphere is terrific. It’s electric,” Cheesebrough said.

That electricity will most definitely carry across the street. Businesses will benefit from 43 hockey games and hundreds of wrestling matches.

Cosetta’s in St. Paul is a busy place already, but during State Tournament time it gets even busier. They’ll add another 20 to 25 employees just to keep up with foot traffic.

“I feel like we get busier every year. There are so many people that come back, that know it,” said Jeanne Shydlowski, manager at Patrick McGovern’s Pub.

Whether it’s a pin or a power play, this is their time to shine.

“It’s such a great time of year, and hopefully we’ll see a little sunshine or something like that that sparks it up, but it’s a great time of year,” Shydlowski said.

The Boys’ State Hockey Tournament will have a special anniversary of its own this year as well – they are celebrating 75 years this March.

Weezer, Michael Buble and Blake Shelton will have concerts at the X in March, and Michelle Obama will also make an appearance as part of her book tour.

Throw in Luckypalooza, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration and the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, and downtown St. Paul businesses will be feeling lucky throughout March.

John Lauritsen