January 19 is Hockey Day Minnesota and the weather is forecast to be brutally cold for the games scheduled to be played outdoors in Bemidji.
We're talking about the possibility of high temperatures staying below zero with wind chill values as low as -35, according to Sunday morning's forecast discussion from the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service.
Here's Bemidji's 10-day temperature forecast from WeatherBELL, which shows a high on Hockey Day of negative 4 degrees.
The official Hockey Day Minnesota is Saturday, but there are outdoor games scheduled Thursday and Friday as well, when temperatures are forecast to be quite cold as well.
- Thursday, 7 p.m. - Bemidji vs. Woodbury (high school girls)
- Friday, 7 p.m. - Bemidji State vs. Michigan Tech (college men)
- Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - Minnetonka vs. Andover (high school boys)
- Saturday, 1 p.m. - Bemidji State vs. MSU Mankato (college women)
- Saturday, 4:30 p.m. - Bemidji vs. Greenway (high school boys)
The games will be played on Lake Bemidji near the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues. The makeshift hockey rink will have room for 3,000 spectators and includes tents to help people get out of the cold, at least temporarily.
During a rainy Hockey Day Minnesota ceremony in Bemidji last July, Fox Sports North's Kevin Gorg said they welcome the outdoor elements.
“We’ve got a little inclement weather this morning. That’s something we’re used to on Hockey Day. We take pride in overcoming the elements," he told the Bemidji Pioneer.
As cold as its expected to be in Bemidji next week, it still probably won't get as cold as it was on Hockey Day in Baudette Bay in 2008, when it was -17 degrees with wind chills around -50!
Two days ago the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office issued a release regarding ice safety on Lake Bemidji, noting that ice thickness across the lake varied substantially. It should be fine where Hockey Day games are played, but the sheriff noted that ice is never 100 percent safe.
"There is no exact science to how much weight a certain lake can support, ice thickness, clarity, snow cover and plethora of other factors play a significant role. Ice is never 100 percent safe," the release said.