Homecoming begins new traditions centered around SCSU hockey
ST. CLOUD – The second-ranked St. Cloud State hockey player returns home on Saturday for a much-anticipated fourth-ranked Minnesota game when former head coach Bob Motzko returns to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
SCSU’s Frozen Four banner will be dropped from the rafters, and they will sport homecoming jerseys from 1985 to 1986 which will be auctioned off during the match. This was the last season that the Huskies had a different central logo, which features a Husky on skates.
With hockey taking center stage on Saturday, it’s just one part of a huge weekend of events at St. Cloud State. The campus will celebrate homecoming, with three more sports games and numerous events centered around the campus and downtown St. Cloud.
“Coming home is a fantastic tradition – being able to stop for a second and come together as a community,” said St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker. “When I got here (in 2018) it was really clear that people were excited to write a new chapter for the reunion.”
The cancellation of Homecoming made headlines in 2011, and seven years later, when it returned in 2018. The event lasted two years before a limited celebration went virtual in 2020.
“When it’s canceled or it goes away for a while, you’re trying to rekindle some of the energy that was behind it,” said athletic director Heather Weems. “People don’t have much time… how do you make it something for everyone? How can we give them the best reason to come back and re-engage with the campus and re-engage with the community? “
Those plans start with the Downtown St. Cloud Art Crawl on Friday, an alumni art exhibit at the Paramount Theater, a Saturday morning 5 mile / walk, an open house for some of the new facilities at Halenbeck Hall, and a hotel de virtual international city that was successful last year.
There will also be a FanFest at 3 pm in the hockey center parking lot before the Minnesota game, followed by a Coyote Wild concert at 7:30 pm Food trucks, ax throws, inflatables for kids and more will allow fans to come together before the Game.
Volleyball, football in the reunion schedule
While hockey will draw the biggest crowds on Saturday at 5 p.m., a wide variety of other Huskies track and field events will take place throughout the weekend.
Volleyball, ranked No.14, hosts the University of Mary at 6 p.m. Friday and Minot State at 2 p.m. Saturday. Men’s soccer will play its last two home games of its inaugural season, facing Purdue Northwest at 7 p.m. Friday and Davenport at noon Sunday.
The St. Cloud State women’s hockey team also has its first conference game with St. Thomas at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
This will be the first year that the reunion has not centered on the football team, which was removed from SCSU athletic programming at the end of 2019. The focus is on the division’s hockey team. I from the university, which will have its second top five. Game of the Year after splitting a road series at No.1 MSU-Mankato last weekend.
“We think we’re starting a new tradition,” Wacker said of the return home game with Minnesota. “We are excited about this.”
Motzko returns after the tragedy
Gophers coach Bob Motzko’s return to the ice, where he coached St. Cloud State for 13 seasons, will have a different feel after the death of his son Mack this summer. Mack, a 2020 cathedral graduate, was honored this year with his hockey act in the seat where he watched his father’s games at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
“The tone and content is a little different… sincere and a little darker from that angle,” Weems said. “Having said that, when the puck falls, we play a game of hockey. The coach (Motzko) will be ready and our team will be ready.
“Four of the top five teams (in the country) are from Minnesota… we are up against all of our rivals,” Weems added. “Merging all of this around regional energy and excitement, I think it’s just a great story for hockey in general.
Zach Dwyer is a sports reporter and photographer for the St. Cloud Times. Contact him at 320-406-5660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @sctimeszach.
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