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John's Journal: Worry About The Weather? Not A Chance

Girls State Hockey Tournament Forges Ahead

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 6:38 PM


Travel warnings were issued by the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s District 7 office on Wednesday. Considering that much of the state is facing the brunt of a major winter storm, the messages were not surprising.

At 11:06 a.m. this was posted: “No travel is advised on all state highways and I-90 in Nobles & Rock counties in SC MN. Blowing and drifting snow is creating blizzard and whiteout conditions. Motorists are advised not to travel in these areas until conditions improve.”

And at 2:07 p.m. came this even more serious, all-caps post: “TRAVEL ALERT: MnDOT has closed state highways & I-90 from Worthington west to the South Dakota border, and from Worthington south to the Iowa border due to blizzard conditions creating blowing and drifting snow and significantly reducing visibility.”

The Rock County seat is Luverne, which is also home to one of the 16 girls hockey teams competing in this week’s state tournament.

When the first warning was issued, the Luverne Cardinals hockey players were warming up in a corridor near their locker room inside Xcel Energy Center. When the second post hit Twitter, the Cardinals were in the midst of a Class A state quarterfinal game against Orono. (The final score was Orono 6, Luverne 0).

“Our schedule didn’t change one bit,” said Luverne activities director Todd Oye. “We came to town Tuesday, practiced at Ridder Arena and went to the banquet Tuesday night.”

One downside of the weather and road conditions was that none of the Class A schools competing Wednesday were able to bring students or adult fans on buses to Xcel Energy Center. With virtually every school calling off classes Wednesday and Thursday, that situation will remain the same when the Class 2A quarterfinals are played Thursday.

But while some people freak out about the weather, there was a sense of normalcy inside Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday. Other than the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s difficult if not impossible to remember an MSHSL state tournament being called off or postponed because of weather.

In the days and hours before the tournament, however, the Twitter freak-out experts were in high gear. Here are a few examples …

“If the storm occurs as predicted, what happens with the Girls Hockey Tournament?”

“Hockey should be pushed to Friday Saturday Sunday start at 9 am Friday play at games at Xcel semis at Xcel Saturday and third place and title games Sunday.”

“Looking at girls state hockey in the upcoming days, and the weather forecast… what could cancellations/postponing look like for this type of scenario?”

We have been through this before, and school officials, coaches and fans know what to do. The basic plan is to plan ahead, travel early and get to town ahead of the storm. Hotels in and near downtown St. Paul were busy Wednesday, not just with Class 1A teams and fans but also Class 2A contingents.

Mankato East, which lost a 4-3 decision to Proctor/Hermantown on Wednesday, arrived in the Twin Cities on Tuesday. That was the plan all along, although there were some thoughts about arriving even earlier.

“Tuesday night, we came up for the banquet,” said coach Amber Prange. “But last Friday, we had already started talking about maybe leaving earlier. But (activities director) Todd Waterbury was (joking about), ‘You’re going to play so we might get stuck there and have to spend a little bit too much time together.’ But we knew we were going to play so we were planning on it.”

This Tweet was posted by MnDot District 7 at 6:07 p.m. Wednesday: “A No Travel Advisory has been issued for portions of state hwys & I-90 in Brown, Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin & Watonwan counties in SC MN due to dangerous driving conditions. Several state hwys & I-90 in the SW corner of MN remain closed overnight.”

Stay safe, friends.

--For information, results and much more from the girls state hockey tournament, click here:

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 


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Class A Girls Hockey State Quarterfinal: Warroad 15, Albert Lea 1