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'The Idea Is To Grow The Game': Winter Classic Bringing New Hockey Training Facility To The Metro

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As part of the Winter Classic, the NHL and Minnesota Wild's Legacy Project is installing a dry-land training facility in the upper level of the Northeast Ice Arena.

"There'll be a lot of kids from diverse backgrounds from the Northeast Arena that will benefit from it most," said Wayne Peterson, the Wild's director of community relations and hockey partnerships.

"We chose Northeast Ice Arena because they have not had the facilities like Edina, Stillwater, Woodbury, Eden Prairie, like they have," Peterson said. "It's gonna level the playing ground a little bit."

The facility will serve many different youth hockey groups including the Minneapolis high school teams and the Herb Brooks Foundation's free clinics, an organization that has been a big part of this project.

"There was a time when Minneapolis and St. Paul hockey ruled in this state. So, the idea is to grow the game. Yes, in urban areas, but it's also a suburban and rural issue now. It's an expensive sport. There are barriers to entry," said Herb Brooks Foundation executive director Jon Cherney.

Adjacent to the training area, there will also be a mentoring room.

"A lot of law enforcement from Minneapolis and Hennepin County, as well as the Herb Brooks Foundation will use that space to mentor kids," Peterson said.

The project is scheduled to finish this spring.

"It's going to be a real collaboration to help grow the game for kids, which is really right up the alley of what Herb always wanted to do," Cherney said.

The training facility is being designed by the Wild's Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sean Skahan. He will use the same company that designed the same room in TRIA Rink, where the Wild practice.


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