It's going to be a weekend of outdoor hockey very similar to last year's, right down to the weather.
"Our priority is the safety of everyone involved," Jamestown High School boys hockey coach Matt Stockert said. "There is no set temperature where we are going to call it and be done, but I think what does play out is common sense.
"We're not going to come out here and put kids in harm's way."
The University of Jamestown will host the state's second annual Hockey Day North Dakota this Friday through Sunday outdoors at Allen Field. The action is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday as the Jamestown/Valley City Bantam A team faces off against the Fargo Angels Bantam A team.
According to the National Weather Service, a high of 28 degrees is forecasted for Friday with wind gusts between 23 to 26 miles per hour. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph. The NWS is predicting a 40% chance of snow after 12 p.m., but little to no snow accumulation is expected.
"Tomorrow's supposed to be really nice and Saturday is supposed to be ugly, so we just have to kind of wait and see what is going to happen," Stockert said. "Regardless, we'll have everything ready to go and hopefully kids can come out here and have fun Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
Saturday's forecasted widespread blowing snow and high of 3 degrees could potentially move the competition to the balmy 58-degree indoor Wilson Arena. The chilly second day of Hockey Day is expected to be coupled with a northwest wind of 31 to 34 mph. The winds could reach speeds as high as 48 mph.
While the chilly January forecast is something to consider, it does not lessen Stockert's excitement for the three-day event. Last year's event opened with the JHS varsity girls playing Bismarck at an air temperature of minus 2.
"I think it's a celebration of the game," Stockert said. "I think everybody has a passion for the game that straps it on and plays it.
"There is a lot of people involved here getting this thing ready to go -- lots of volunteers, lots of sponsors and all that good stuff -- so there is a passion for the game of hockey. It's good to see. Any time you can take advantage of something like this, it's just pretty awesome."
The Blue Jays are ready to take advantage of Allen Field in all its frozen glory. The Jays will face West Fargo Sheyenne on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. The team is coming off some injuries and illnesses that have contributed to a four-game losing streak, bringing the Jays' record to 6-6. While the team is battling some challenges, Stockert said his team is far from throwing in the towel.
"I am just excited to continue to play and make sure our kids are getting better," Stockert said. "I think we've done that even though we haven't won. It's baby steps. Did we get better from when we lost to Bottineau on Friday? Yes. Did we get better against Dickinson? Yes. Tuesday against Mandan did we get better? We did.
"We've got to clean up a few things but the compete level is there and the effort is there. That's why you play those games is to hopefully learn lessons so that you don't make those same mistakes when it matters the most and that's the third week in February."
The Blue Jay girls will also be in action on Saturday. The team will face Devils Lake outdoors at 11:15 a.m.
Hockey Day North Dakota 2020
At University of Jamestown’s Allen Field
Friday, Jan. 17
Jamestown/VC Bantam A vs. Fargo Angels Bantam A, 4:30 p.m.
University of Jamestown vs. Minot State, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18
Jamestown/VC Peewee A vs. Mandan Peewee A, 9 a.m.
Jamestown Blue Jay girls vs. Devils Lake, 11 a.m.
Jamestown Blue Jay boys vs. West Fargo Sheyenne, 1:15 p.m.
Bismarck boys vs. Fargo South/Shanley, 4 p.m.
University of Jamestown (D-II) vs. University of North Dakota Club, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 19
Fargo Angels Squirt White vs. Dickinson Squirt Orange, 9 a.m.
Fargo Angels Bantam B vs. Rugby Bantam, 10:45 a.m.
Fargo Angels Bantam A Red vs. Dickinson Bantam, 12:30 p.m.
Fargo Freeze Maroon Pewee B vs. Wahpeton Peewee B, 2:15 p.m.
Valley City Squirts vs. West Fargo Squirt Orange, 4 p.m.
Indoor Schedule (Wilson Arena)
Saturday, Jan. 18
Jamestown JV boys vs. Fargo Sheyenne, 10:45 a.m.
Fargo Angels White vs. Dickinson Orange, 1:15 p.m.
Fargo Angels Bantam B vs. Rugby Bantam, 3:30 p.m.
Fargo Angels Bantam A vs. Dickinson Bantam, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 19
Jamestown Squirt B vs. Bismarck Squirt Blue, 11 a.m.
Jamestown Squirt B vs. Bismarck Squirt Gray, 2 p.m.