The Minnesota Wild selected Sartell Youth Hockey for this year's Youth Hockey Spotlight Game at Bernick's Arena. The Sartell Pee Wee "B" squad, comprised of 12 and 13-year olds, were featured in the game against Buffalo.

Sartell Youth Hockey President Cory Oberg says that the SYH and the parents knew about the event in advance, but the kids did not.

"Back in September the Wild reached out to us and let us know we'd be hosting this event," Oberg said. "We were told to keep it a secret, so a few of us knew and started getting ready.

"Last week we told the parents, so the excitement has really been growing," Oberg said.

Minnesota Wild Director of Community Relations and Hockey Partnerships Wayne Peterson said the event is "like Hockey Day Minnesota" for youth hockey. This is the fourth year the Wild has done the event, and the second time they have gone out state.

"Two years ago we decided to go out state and we went to Hermantown, then last year we went to Marshall," Peterson said. "We were (in Sartell) for the Learn To Play program last summer, there's a great rink here... it was a no-brainer."

The Sartell team received a police and fire truck escort into the building and were greeted by hundreds of fans with cheers and well-wishes.

Sartell hockey player Sophie Weiland said she was "really surprised" when she got off the bus and saw the fans cheering for her.

"I am really excited to go out there and have lots of fun with my team," Weiland said.

The Wild sent public address announcer Adam Abrams to fire up the crowd, with some help from mascot Nordy. Fox Sports North's Kevin Gorg was on hand to spread some melted ice from Xcel Energy Center, and the Wild even brought their National Anthem singer John DeCausmeaker.

Guest coaches for the teams were Hall of Fame former North Star Mike Modano for Sartell, and former Wild standout Wes Walz for Buffalo.

Mike Modano behind the Sabres' bench PHOTO: Dave Overlund, WJON
Mike Modano behind the Sabres' bench PHOTO: Dave Overlund, WJON

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