Denfeld News

Jan. 2, 2011
Duluth News Tribune

Prep hockey hopes to fill Amsoil Arena
By Rick Weegman

An organizer for Monday’s inaugural prep hockey doubleheader at Amsoil Arena has a lofty goal.

“We’re shooting to fill the place,” Stan Karich said. “That’s the challenge; we want to set a northern Minnesota record (crowd) for a high school hockey game.”

Duluth East and Duluth Central square off in a boys game at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a girls game between the Duluth Northern Stars and Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall at 5:30 p.m. and a host of entertainment activities.

While no concrete attendance figures are known to exist, it’s believed that 6,000-plus people may have crammed into the 5,333-seat DECC for Duluth East and Duluth Cathedral games in the 1970s — presumably while the fire marshal looked the other way.

Amsoil Arena housed a capacity 6,732 fans for its debut in Thursday’s college hockey game between Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota. The Heritage Center, where East and Central normally play, holds around 1,500.

The idea for the Amsoil games came when the DECC’s executive director contacted the Duluth schools’ activities directors to gauge their interest.

“Dan Russell approached us and said, ‘Hey, this is a brand-new place, why don’t you bring your game here?’” Central AD Tom Pearson said. “And we said, ‘What a great opportunity for our kids, our schools and our community to allow people to get in and see that new facility.’”

Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

In addition to the games, several activities will be held. They include: a tricycle relay between East and Central students; two pie-eating contests involving East and Central students and principals of the schools; the banding together of the East and Central bands; and exhibitors giving away hundreds of prizes in raffles and drawings.

This also marks the final time Central and East will play each other, because Central is closing next spring. Denfeld will re-open next fall after being closed for one year of renovations.

“We hope that Denfeld vs. East will be a yearly game at Amsoil Arena,” Pearson said. “Not that that Heritage isn’t a great spot, but kids don’t get an opportunity to play in an arena like this very often.”

East also will play second-ranked Eden Prairie at Amsoil on Jan. 15. The public is invited to an open house today at the arena.

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