CALUMET - In addition to a Meet the Coaches event tonight and its first exhibition game of the year Saturday, the Michigan Technological University hockey team will return to Calumet Sunday for the second straight year for an intrasquad scrimmage.
The event at Calumet Colosseum kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday and is intended just as much as a community relations event and fundraiser for local junior hockey organizations as it is a hockey event.
"It's two-pronged. No. 1 from our standpoint for our team is to get some more game-like situations. ... It's a chance to look at some other players who might not play (in Saturday's 7:07 p.m. home exhibition against Brock University)," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "The second part is obviously the community relations and community outreach. It's important to get involved in the community and for our players to do something like this."
Last year's event was during the Christmas break and came immediately before a Calumet Copper Kings game; this year, the Huskies have the Colosseum to themselves.
The second annual Black & Gold intrasquad game, presented by Aspirus Keweenaw, starts with a pregame tailgate party with the game slated to start at 3 p.m.
The game will be two 25- or 20-minute halves.
"For me personally, last year (the Colosseum) was a really fun place to play. It has an older feel to it, the ice is really hard and really fast. Was it competitive? Yes, but it was also fun," Tech senior defenseman and captain Carl Nielsen said. "Any time you compete against your teammates, there's always bragging rights. It'll be a very exciting weekend for the guys. ... We're nothing without our supporters out there and it really does make a huge difference, even if it's just a little touch with the community."
After the game ends, local youth will have a chance to skate with the Huskies and get autographs, while fans can meet the coaches and captains on the upper level of the Colosseum after the game.
"Obviously, the tailgate will continue after the game with free food and the players and coaches will mingle," Pearson said. "Last year with the high school game we couldn't do some things. This year there's no high school game so it's all about making an afternoon of it."
Admission to the event is a freewill donation, which will benefit local youth hockey organizations.
"It's a good cause and last year we went to another good cause, a food bank. I'm hoping this Sunday will raise a fair amount of funds for those hockey programs," Pearson said.
For more information on tonight's Meet the Coaches event and Saturday's Tech hockey exhibition against Brock, see page 1B of today's sports section.