Grand Rapids/Greenway to Take Turn in Hockey Day Spotlight

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: January 14, 2020 10:44 PM

The girls playing for Grand Rapids/Greenway went from Hockey Day Minnesota spectators to competitors in one year's time. Braving Bemidji's subzero temperatures, they cheered on the Greenway boys last January. 

"Everyone here definitely has a love for hockey to face the cold and be out here to watch hockey so that's really cool," commented Lightning defenseman Hannah Mark, a junior at the time, at the 2019 Hockey Day Minnesota. 

"It's just cool to see big games like this and everyone getting together," added forward Claire Vekich in Bemidji last year.

After watching that game on Lake Bemidji, it was Head Coach Brad Hyduke who picked up an important phone call with an opportunity on the other line.

"I was on vacation in Florida actually when I got that, and you know, reached out to my two captains, reached out to my AD and said 'here's the opportunity'," shared Hyduke, the head coach for the Lightning.

"I got the text when I was at school from my coach and I had to keep it a secret for like a month. When the rest of the team found out it was just like crazy excitement," shared Mark, now a senior and Lightning captain.

For the first time since 2013, when Grand Rapids was the host, the Lightning will participate in this Minnesota hockey tradition.

"For us to be a part of something big and just that the boys got to be a part of too, I hope that it really puts us on the map as a northern team," commented junior forward Claire Vekich.

Sitting at 8-8-2 on the season, they're preparing for a tough test outside in Minneapolis. The Blake Bears have skated in the State championship game for the past seven years. 

"We both really come from the premiere sections in the state and it's going to be a good bench mark for us," said Hyduke on their match with Blake.

Vekich added, "if we can just come out, work hard jump them right off the bat we'll have a really good chance at taking a win home."

This will be Hyduke's second Hockey Day, but for many, it's a once in a lifetime experience.

"Just expecting a culture being on the ice at hockey day that we've never experienced before," said Mark.


Alicia Tipcke

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