Minnesota State, Team USA fans show their support at watch party
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — College hockey players put on their red, white and blue sweaters in Beijing Thursday morning, but local fans watching the Olympics were cheering for the purple and gold.
“All around the country, there’s support for Nathan Smith. To have him and coach [Mike] Hastings be represented for the U.S. in Beijing for the U.S. is just so amazing and so exciting for both of them,” stated Tia Martin, who is dating Minnesota State junior forward Nathan Smith. “Everyone in Mankato is super supportive. Everyone’s here at 7 a.m. which shows how supportive the Mankato community is.”
At Tav on the Ave, the community came together to support not only Team USA, but also our very own Nathan Smith and Mike Hastings. The puck dropped Thursday morning for the crowd in Beijing at the same time, but 7,000 miles away, in our very town, it did the same.
“It didn’t hit us until he actually left for Beijng,” Martin said. “At first we were like ‘what?’ then my family’s like ‘we know somebody going to the Olympics.’ It’s so crazy.”
Even still, the workers at Tav on the Ave were excited for the early risers.
“To have that right in our community and have these people out there supporting Team USA and just being able to be part of this right in our community is just really exciting,” Tav on the Ave server Jill said.
As for Smith, he is having a lot of fun with his new teammates.
“At first his sleep schedule was off and didn’t know what to expect, but now they’re getting to go to events and he’s getting closer with all of the other guys, so he’s having a lot of fun,” Martin added.
After winning 8-0 against China, the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team will continue its quest for gold in another preliminary match against Canada at 10:10 p.m. Central Time. The game will also be broadcast live on USA Network.
Tav on the Ave management says they plan on hosting more viewing parties for the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team and encourage fans to check their Facebook page for more updates.
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