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Blue Jays getting a feel for Hockey Day ice

The Jamestown High School boys hockey team prepared themselves for Hockey Day North Dakota on Jan. 20.

jhs boys hockey 22 13 sheyene 8 012020.jpg
Tyler Misialek (8) of West Fargo Sheyenne gets to the puck after slipping on the ice Jan. 20, 2020, during a North Dakota Hockey Day outdoor game on the University of Jamestown campus. Skating in on the action are Jamestown's Hunter Nelson (22) and Nolan Nenow (13).
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Practice for the Jamestown High School boys hockey team looked a little different than normal Thursday afternoon.

Starting with the fact that head coach Matt Stockert was posting to Twitter a bit more than normal.

"Don't think for a minute that yours truly won't be videoing some kids and posting on social media," Stockert said. "We're trying to make it as fun as we possibly can.

"There are not many times that you get to experience an outdoor event such as a hockey game. The support in the community has been great for this event. It's a good spectacle and it drives a lot of good into the city and community of Jamestown."

Stockert and the Jays kicked off its preparation for Hockey Day North Dakota Thursday afternoon with a 45-minute practice session in the newly assembled outdoor rink on the University of Jamestown campus near the Jays' normal home venue, Wilson Arena.

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"The kids are excited for the opportunity to head out there again and take on another opponent," Stockert said. "Obviously the goal is to go out there and win a hockey game but playing under the lights on an outdoor sheet in mid-January can certainly make it a heckuva lot more fun. We're looking forward to it."

The Blue Jay boys team's hockey day contest is slated for Friday night against Devils Lake. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jamestown has a quick turnaround as they will be back at Wilson Arena for a regular conference matchup against Williston on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

"Our schedule is indicative of some back-to-back games but in order to get to the state hockey tournament, you've got to play Thursday, you've got to play Friday and you've got to play Saturday," Stockert said. "If you get the kids used to it, they'll just go out and do it. This one will be a good, fun test in a good, fun environment.

"It's no secret that the East Region style of hockey is a little different than the West Region style. It's always fun to see that and compete with that and see where we line up there."

Devils Lake is currently ranked ninth out of the 10 East Region teams. In conference, the Firebirds are 0-9 and 3-10-0 overall. Jamestown is on a six-game winning streak and has overtaken the No. 1 spot in the West Region at 10-2 and 10-3 overall.

Jamestown's three losses have come against Bismarck High, Minot and West Fargo Sheyenne. The losses to BHS and Minot were one-goal games.

Stockert and the Jays will be the second of the four Jamestown teams to hold a practice session out on the outdoor rink. The 45-minute session will allow the Jays to get the basic feel for the ice, test some bounces and allow netminders Brode Hillstrom and Andrew Walz to test out their angles.

"This gives today's kids a taste of what it used to be like," Stockert said. "The technology and modernization of the game have come a long way. Years ago, it was just the boards, no glass, and the Zamboni was four, five or six guys with shovels.

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"Now there's nice boards and decent ice, players' benches and glass around the rink. It's something different and it should be a heckuva lot of fun."

Related Topics: BLUE JAYS HOCKEYPREP SPORTSJAMESTOWN BLUE JAYS
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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