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Feb. 20, 2017

     Duluth's own Mark Sertich has gained some international prominence as the prime subject in a commericial campaign that emphasizes health among seniors. 
     Mother London, a world renown advertising agency, with offices in London, New York and Buenos Airies,  who created the campaign, was in town last week filming Sertie during his daily routine both on and off the ice.
      At age 95, Sertie is featured in the Guiness Book of World Records as the oldest athlete playing competitive hockey and made a perfect subject for the commercial. 
     The campaign was prepared for Nokia and is not planned to be aired in the United States but Sertie will receive a copy of the commercial and plans to share it with the community. 

Feb. 10, 2017

     The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the opening of registration for the 2017 Future Prospects Combines (FPC). 
The 2017 set of Combines include five different destinations, which include: Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Minnesota.
     Entering its fourth year in 2017, the FPC will accept applications from all players with birth years from 2001-2004.
     The intent and goal of all North American Future Prospects Combine events is to provide the aspiring hockey player an opportunity to take part in a one-of-a-kind learning experience. Each Future Prospects Combine is designed to maximize exposure, education and experience at grand-scale events. 

2017 Dates:

Friday, March 31st – Sunday, April 2nd in Romeoville, IL (in conjunction with the NA3HL Silver Cup)

Friday, April 21st – Sunday, April 23rd in Middletown, NJ

Friday, April 28th – Sunday, April 30th in Attleboro, MA

Friday, May 5th – Sunday, May 7th in Simi Valley, CA

Friday, May 12th – Sunday, May 14th in Duluth, MN (in conjunction with the NAHL Robertson Cup)

     The selection process will begin in mid-February with confirmation letters being sent to those players selected to participate. For those players not selected at that time, they will be placed on a waiting list. Full refunds will be issued to any registrant that is not selected shortly after the end of each event.
     Operated by the NAHL professional staff and coaches, each Future Prospects Combine is designed to provide a glimpse into a true "NAHL EXPERIENCE". The objective of an "NAHL Experience" is to provide exposure, education and an experience for prospects that strive to advance their hockey development at the junior hockey and college level.

Learn more at



     It's official!  Mark Frankenfeld, President & Commissioner of the North American Hockey League, announced last week that the EDHC will be the site for the 2017 Robertson Cup,,, the symbol of the league's championship. The event takes place on May 11-14, 2017.
    The NAHL is comprised of 24 teams located throughout the United States. Three of those teams (Minnesota Wilderness - Cloquet, MN; Minnesota Magicians - Richfield, MN: Coulee Region, LaCrosse, WI) are in close proximity to Duluth . The Wilderness won the Robertson Cup in 2015.
    For additional information, please click on the "Tournaments" tab.


The Duluth Northern Stars in action against Mound-Westonka, with the team identification sign & bench sponsor's banner displayed.

     Thanks to a promotional investment by Whole Foods Co-op, Duluth's high school hockey teams now truly have a "home team" bench. When Duluth East played Minnetonka on Saturday, Jan, 7, the team's players bench displayed a sign that highlighted the school's name & logo. There is now a sign for each high school team that will be displayed behind the bench when the team is in action.
     Whole Foods Co-op recently became the sponsor for the signs to place special emphasis on having a home rink advantage"for the teams. While it's unlikely that anyone was confused as to which team was which, having the team's name on the bench is like  each team having its own identity. 
     "With three high school teams sharing the rink, it's always been challenging to have an individual identity for each one," commented EDHC's Community Relations Associate Ken Kolquist. "When the folks from Whole Foods Co-op selected us as a business promotional partner, they were attracted by the home team bench and helped us find a solution. We're very proud to have  the Whole Foods Co-op on board."


Perkin's "Cool Cookie" contestant take a photo op with the event's sponsor, Sean Flaherty of Perkin's Restaurants (kneeling) and the EDHC's Ken Kolquist..

     On Thursday, January 12, 2017, Sill Arena was nearly bursting at the seams as fans gathered to watch the Perkin's High School Hockey Frenzy. From the time the doors opened, the Frenzy had no “down time” for the fans. In addition to seeing some great high school hockey teams in action, extra entertainment was provided during intermission in the form an  appearance by “Too Tall Ike”, the world’s tallest ice skater and by the high school students themselves who the Perkins “Cool Cookie” contest.
     In the game action, Hermantown, the no. 1 ranked Class 7A high school in the state, bested the host Denfeld Hunters by a 5-1 score and Duluth East, ranked 13th in Class AA, took the measure of no. 3 ranked Grand Rapids 5-0. 

     Hermantown & East students also prevailed in the Perkin's Cool Cookie contest, with the winning team sharing a $50 cash prize. All contestants received $10 Perkin's Restaurant coupons and a "Cool Cookie" t shirt. 
     The Perkin's Frenzy was shared with the hockey world by television, radio and streaming. Local sports network My9 did the telecast, assisted by iFan (Superior, WI) who also streamed the game. Let's Play Hockey, a hockey newspaper published weekly, also provided streaming while Grand Rapids radio KOZY brought the excitement back to their home market. 


     Recently, a display commemorating Duluth's "Hockey Day Minnesota" event was placed in one of our display cases in Sill Arena. On February 6, 2016, with the aerial bridge in the background,  Duluth's Bayfront Park was converted into a first-class outdoor venue for ice hockey , hosting both youth and high school games which were televised by Fox Sports North.
     In front of a crowd numbering approximately 5.000, Duluth Denfeld clashed with  section rival Eveleth-Gilbert, followed by Duluth East taking on Lakeville North, in a rematch of the 2015 state tournament championship game.
     The Duluth Northern Stars girls team was unable to take part in the event because of scheduled section playoffs but was able to display their talents on the outdoor ice on Thursday, in a game against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, February 4th.
     On your next visit to the EDHC, be sure to check out this display. 


Youth from North Star Academy enjoy the ice in Sill Arena

     Recently, it seems as though ice skating has become a popular choice for both physical exercise and classroom diversion for elementary school students. 
     On November 23, the 1st grade class from Piedmont Elementary got the chance to don skates and burn off some energy. On December 19, approximately 300 youth from North Star Academy's grades K thru 2  took to the ice, many of them for the first time, followed on December 20 by the 3rd grade classes from Lester Park Elementary. 
     According to EDHC's Administrative Assistant Shari Olson, it's been a win-win situation for both the kids and the EDHC. The ice availability during the school day affords an economical opportunity for the kids, while enabling the schools to supplement their needs to provide more physical activities to their daily regimen. Ice skates  for those not having them are made available through cooperation with the City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Department. 
     For more information on how to schedule skating opportunities for elementary school children, contact Ken at 218-464-1711, ext. 104 or by e-mail at


Tom Kowalik (left) and Tom Francisco check out the performance of the new Zamboni electric ice edger.

   The EDHC recently took delivery of a new Zamboni Electric Ice Edger Model EZIII, which will replace the gasoline powered edger currently in use.  With the elimination of the carbon emission that result from gas burning machines, EDHC ice maintenance crews will be able to regularly remove the ice build-up along the edges of the rink, without waiting until the building is empty.  The new edger also has eight carbon blades, twice as many as the current edger, to provide a smoother edge along the dasher boards , while only taking half the time to do the job.
    In addition to the improved ice quality, the elimination of carbon emissions will also enhance the air quality as well.
     The purchase of the new ice edger was made available through funds  received from the James Metzen Might Ducks Grant Program, administered by the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. In addition to the ice edger, other air quality enhancement improvements  will be forthcoming, also funded by the grant. 


Hunter Holiday Gift Wrapping Party

Hunter Holiday Gift Wrapping Party

   Members of the Denfeld Hockey Team are sponsoring gifts for two families through the Salvation Army's Adopt-a-Family program. The team raised the funds,  did their shopping and will wrap and deliver the gifts to selected families prior to Christmas. 
    This program has been a team tradition and, according to coach Kevin Smalley,  the players are grateful for this opportunity to "give back" to the community.
    Way to go, Hunters!


     The 2016 version of the Denfeld Boys Soccer team, Section 7A’s representatives to the 2016 Boys Soccer State Tournament, was honored  at EDHC on Friday, December 9, during the hockey game between Denfeld and Eagan.
     The Hunters and their families were guests of the EDHC for a pre-game party and then joined their classmates to cheer the hockey Hunters in their battle against Eagan. The Hunters lost the game 7-3, although the game was much closer that the score indicated.
     The Denfeld soccer team earned the right to compete in the state tournament for the first time since 2004,  by running off 10 straight wins, including 3 wins in the Section 7A playoffs. Their streak ended in the first round of the tournament, with a 3-1 loss to Blake School. Their season record was 16-5.


A "First Timer" gets a skating assist from one of the 60 UMD athletes on hand for the party

       On Tuesday, December 6, over 150 youth & their familes from Laura MacArthur school and their K.E.Y Zone program gathered in Seitz Arena to interact with 60 men & women athletes from UMD, including UMD's mascot, Champ,  for a skating/pizza party.
        Volunteers from UMD's various athletic programs helped the kids lace up their skates and then aided the "first timers" to make their way around the ice. After skating, the entire group traveled over to the Clyde Iron Restaurant for pizza & refreshment. 
         The skating party was made possible through a collaboration of the City of Duluth Parks & Recreational Department, who provided the skates, and the Duluth Heritage Sports Center Foundation, who made the ice available. 
        Judging from the smiles on the faces of the youth, the adults and the athletes, it was a memorable event for all. 


    On Wednesday, Nov. 23, youth from the Piedmont Elementary Schools 1st grade got a break from the classroom for a new phy ed skating.
    For many of the kids, this was their first time on ice skates. They got this chance thanks to the efforts of both teachers and parents who wanted to put a new spin on keeping kids physically active.  The activity also included a surprise visit from UMD's mascot Champ who participated in the skating while affording many photo-ops. 
     Skates were furnished for those who didn't have them courtesy of the City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Department. The EDHC also chipped in, offering the ice free of charge.
     The kids thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and it is expected that other schools may soon follow.


EDHC ice technicians Jason Maken (left) and Troy Sager put the finishing touches on the Seitz ice.

     During the week of September 19, Seitz Arena was once more converted from being the area's only indoor synthetic turf facility to rejoin the ranks of ice arenas. The Gary-Morgan Park youth program were again the inaugural users, as they hosted their annual Chris Johnson 3 on 3 Tournament for bantams and pee wees on September 23-25.
     Visitors to Seitz Arena will readily note the new appearance at center ice, with the "Essentia Duluth Heritage Center" logo in place. In June ,  2016, Essentia Health became the naming rights sponsor for the  entire Duluth Heritage Sports Center facility prompting the redesign of the center ice logos. 
     The turf meanwhile was being relocated to its "winter" home in the DECC's Pioneer Hall, where it will be used for lacrosse and soccer from November 7 thru mid-February. Those interested in renting the turf may obtain information on rates & schedules by contacting the EDHC Business Office or on line at 


Tom Kowalik & Tom Francisco "play" with skid steer machines as they remove the ice from Sill Arena. The use of the machines was donated by Northern Engine & Supply Co. and Twin Ports Aerial Service. The new ice surface is shown in the photos above

      It's been customary for our ice maintenance team to wait until the month of September to "turn the ice" on Sill Arena but this year, with all of our hockey camps taking off the week of July 4th, it provided a window of opportunity to remove the old ice and install a new sheet in July.  This means that when September comes, we'll be able to focus our attention on Seitz Arena, moving the turf and getting the ice ready for some early season hockey events.
     For who those skate for recreation, not much attention is paid o the condition of the ice but the best skaters are  "ice connoisseurs" who can readily distinguish good ice from bad. Quite often, we hear that the ice at the DHSC is as good as the best ice they've ever seen...anywhere. The credit for this goes to our talented and dedicated bunch of ice maintenance technicians who truly feel that "good enough" simply isn't good enough. They want our ice to be the best it can be and they work to make it that way.
 Tom Kowalik, Arena Manager, gives the lion's share of the credit to his crew. "Our Arena team has really bought in to what we're trying to do here with our ice.", he commented. "They understand the process and are willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the ice in peak condition."
Tom said that scheduling enough time to keep the ice maintained between events is also important. "We can work all night to get the ice in perfect condition but when it's used all day, we need time between events to provide proper resurfacing, especially when the older players are skating." he said. "It's also important that we all follow the same protocols when resurfacing the ice with the Zambonis."
To be sure that tenants share their opinion on the condition of the ice, Tom will be conducting random interviews with team coaches to obtain their comments. "We may be really proud of our work, but what really counts is what our customers think!"



     “There were so many stars on the ice that you could have turned the arena lights off and still needed sunglasses”.              
      That comment came from a fan as he was leaving Sill Arena after watching Team Bordson, led by team captain Rob Bordson, eke out a 3-2 overtime victory over Team Krause and its leader, Adam Krause, in the 2016 Heritage Summer Hockey Classic.
     44 current professional, collegiate and junior hockey players, including 4 women, gathered at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center (EDHC) on Monday, June 27, to display their talents to raise money for the Ray Peterson Heritage Fund. The Fund helps financially challenged youth to participate in sporting activities or who aspire for higher educational opportunities or seek vocational training.
     The teams were coached by former UMD greats Keith “Huffer” Christiansen (Team Krause) and Pat Francisco (Team Bordson), but the team leaders were responsible for selecting the 22 player rosters. They made their selections from among the player pool using a draft process to keep the teams as equal as possible. The result was 50 minutes of up & down action, in a game with no body checking or slap shots. The contest ended in a 2-2 tie and it took three overtime periods before UMD’s  Ashleigh Briykaluik scored the game winner.
     The game protocol called for one overtime period, followed by a shootout but the teams decided that they wanted to keep playing until one of them emerged victorious. “We were having too much fun”, commented Bordson. “ No one wanted a game like this to end in a shootout and we were ready to play until one team won. Having four lines and 8 defense kept us from getting tired.”
     EDHC president Jerry DeMeo said he couldn’t recall the last time he enjoyed a hockey game so much. “These young people weren’t playing for job security.” commented DeMeo. “They were skating for the fun of it, taking chances, making fancy passes and otherwise making moves that might have gotten them benched in their normal roles. “
     The game was also a crowd-pleaser. The action was fast, the passing was accurate, with stellar defensive play and rock-solid goal tending.
     “This was probably the best collection of hockey talent that we’ll see on one sheet of ice in Duluth this year.” said DeMeo. “If you claim to be a hockey fan and  didn’t see this game, you really missed something!”

Sertie Scores Again!

 Duluth's most notable hockey player recently added another "trophy" to his collection...this time it's a world record!
     Mark Sertich, at the age of 93 years, 11 months and 27 days was recently acknowledged as the oldest hockey player ever  to play competitive hockey. Just 3 days prior to celebrating is 94th birthday, Sertie skated regular shifts with the Continental 75's,  a team that participated in the Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament and by doing so, carved a niche in hockey history that may only be exceeded by Mark himself.
     Sertie appeared on national television during the outdoor hockey game between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks. As a guest of the Wild, he was interviewed between periods by former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick, who asked Mark why he wasn't playing golf like others many other senior former athletes. Sertie's response was that he had never played golf but "always intended to take up the sport when he was done playing hockey. He just hasn't got there yet!"
     Mark Sertich can usually be found 2 or 3 days a week participating in the 8 o'clock skate with those much younger than him. But, as the date for the 2016 Snoopy's tournament nears (July 17), he'll likely add a day or two to that schedule. 
     He wants to be in top skating form as he gets set to raise the age bar for hockey as a "life sport" even higher!