The Cullen Hockey Center in Moorhead, Minnesota, has recently been expanded to include a third ice sheet. The third sheet allows the CHC to host new events like the inaugural Min-Dak Challenge coming up Sept 18-20, showcasing players from across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
"The Min-Dak Challenge is a showcase event intended to provide B and C level players an opportunity to show off their talents," Moorhead Youth Hockey Director Rob Gramer said. "Players will meet and compete with and against kids from all across the region, and get the full showcase event experience."
The tournament will feature some geographic creativity when choosing teams, which is precisely the idea, according to Gramer.
"It is a showcase event where individuals sign up and get placed on teams with other kids from all around the region," Gramer explained. "There will be four teams per level competing in a round-robin preliminary play followed by championship and third-place games based on seeding," Gramer continued.
"In this format, it's a lot of fun to see the friendships develop, camaraderie grow, and team loyalties build and drive the competition throughout the weekend."
Gramer added that with numerous summer and offseason events built for Tier I and AAA teams, this format being reserved for players at the B and C level is deliberate.
"There are a few showcase events out there for kids, but they are usually reserved for AA and A-level players," Gramer said. "We wanted to provide a similar experience for kids that may not otherwise have the opportunity."
Longtime Minnesota Hockey legend and Cullen Hockey Center Arena Manager Dennis Bushy has long championed developing every player, no matter which team or level they participate.
"I've seen many so-called "B" players over the years that are pretty darn good little players, but get over-looked because Jimmy's too small or Susie's not fast enough, whatever it is," Bushy said.
"I've seen those kids develop into some of the best high school players and even go on to play after high school. We want to give those kids opportunities and keep them passionate about the game, too.
"You never know who's going to be the star down the road."
For more information on the tournament, click here.
The 2020 Min-Dak Challenge will be hosted at Moorhead's Cullen Hockey Center this September.