MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota State Mavericks men’s hockey team is participating in the semifinals of the Frozen Four against St. Cloud State, and to honor the team, the cities of Mankato and North Mankato proclaimed Thursday as Maverick Hockey Day.
Fans will be watching the team closely as the Mavericks have a chance to advance to their first national championship in program history with a victory Thursday.
“It’s a little bit surreal right now, and we have always envisioned this opportunity. Now that we are experiencing it, we are excited and ready to seize the opportunity,” said Kevin Buisman, director of athletics at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The puck dropped between the Mavericks and Huskies at 4 p.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh on ESPN2.
“The program is highly visible and there is a lot of support, and we can feel that out here in Pittsburgh. We know the Maverick fans will be rallying behind the team this afternoon,” Buisman said.
The cities of Mankato and North Mankato have gone above and beyond to back up this team on their historic run by proclaiming Thursday as Maverick Hockey Day.
“It is just a great sign of unity and support. A bit of hope and uplifting for what has been a long year. So, it is really cool to see them have the success and the community jump behind them,” North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehen said.
The joint proclamation encourages all Maverick fans to show their support by wearing purple and gold.
The national stage gives the ‘home to the best college hockey fan base in America’ the recognition they deserve.
“[It] highlights the community on a national stage and gets us some national attention, which helps us in a lot of ways. With our quality of life efforts around town, business attraction efforts, workforce attraction efforts. All our bolstered by this type of success with a local sports team,” Dehen said.
Whether the Mavericks win or lose on Thursday, the team can take pride in knowing the community is proud of their efforts this season.