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Kids Find Wild Times Under the Tree in Minnesota

01/03/2017, 2:30pm MST
By USA Hockey

Nearly 500 8U boys and girls made unforgettable holiday memories last week, thanks to the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Hockey, hosts of the first-ever Mite Holiday Jamboree at Xcel Energy Center.
The event brought 32 teams to Minnesota’s state capital for small-ice hockey and an up-close-and-personal look at the Wild as they practiced in preparation for what became the team’s 12th consecutive victory, a 6-4 triumph over the New York Islanders on Dec. 29. The preceding two days were filled with fast-paced 8U fun and skill development on the Wild’s home rink, with hard-board dividers and intermediate-sized nets from Minnesota-based Rink Systems enhancing the experience.
While the benefits of hard-board dividers have become commonplace for youth hockey players and parents nationwide, the less-familiar intermediate nets created a buzz.
“We received a lot of positive feedback about those,” said Glen Andresen, Minnesota Hockey executive director. “The smaller nets are great. They’re way better for the goalies and for the shooters.”
More than 4,500 spectators watched the 8U games, adding to the players’ excitement.
“It went really well, and hopefully it’ll be even bigger and better next year,” said Andresen. “The Wild are wonderful hosts. We’re grateful for their support. It’s great to see the team, and the NHL as a whole, promoting the benefits of small-ice hockey for our players.”

NOTES: Click the video below to see highlights from the event ... In addition to watching the Wild practice, 8U competitors at the Mite Holiday Jamboree also experienced a Q-and-A session with Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville and defenseman Marco Scandella, both of whom were multi-sport athletes (baseball, soccer, hockey) ... The Mite Holiday Jamboree featured 16 youth teams and 16 girls teams. Each team played three games during the two-day event ... Nordy, the Wild mascot, also made an appearance.

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