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By Jerry DeMeo, 06/20/16, 2:30PM CDT


     When the puck drops to start the 2016 Heritage Summer Hockey Classic, those in attendance in the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center (EDHC) will finally get to know who the promised “top talent” will be on the ice. Other than the announcement which promises a hockey game featuring the talents of former pros, college and high school players, only certain EDHC staff members and the team captains who participated in the draft are “in the know” when it comes to the rosters for both teams.
     According to EDHC Community Relations Associate Ken Kolquist, plans call for seven (7) current professional players, sixteen (16) current Division 1 and five (5) Division III collegiate players, six (6) USHL Tier 1 players to be among the 44 players expected for this game. “This is the time of the year when plans aren’t settled for these athletes.” said Kolquist. “We’ve already had two prominent players withdraw because they were returning to their pro or college teams early but we’ve also added some and we expect to put two teams on the  with four lines, 8 defenders and two goalies players each on the ice at game time”.  
     Captains for the teams are former UMD Bulldog hockey standouts Rob Bordson and Adam Krause. Both are currently playing professionally in the American Hockey League.  The coaches are also former Bulldogs. Keith “Huffer” Christiansen will coach Team Krause and Pat Francisco will be the bench boss for Team Bordson. Christiansen & Francisco were line mates from 1963-1967 and played an instrumental role in enabling UMD to move into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), which, at the time, was the top college hockey program in the country. In 1967, they combined with Bruce McLeod to become the NCAA’s top scoring line.
     The roster secrecy is attributable to the appearance of current college players and the NCAA strict rules relative to athlete endorsements. While the game will have no commercial support, there is concern that an advanced announcement of the players might be misconstrued as an endorsement of the game. “We’re thrilled that so many of our local top talent players want to be a part of this game.” commented EHDC President/CEO Jerry DeMeo. “We’re taking zero chances that might affect the eligibility of these young men & women who are donating their time & talents for the benefit of youth from financially challenged families”.
     DeMeo said the public should have no concern about getting their money’s worth. He’s so confident in the quality of the game that the EDHC is offering a money-back guarantee. “With the talent we have, those in attendance will be very glad they came to watch.” said DeMeo.  “I’ll be in my office after the game and will gladly refund the price of admission to anyone who feels they didn’t get their money’s worth… or if they want to make an additional donation to the Fund, I’ll be there for that too!”
     The game is scheduled for Monday, June 27th at the EDHC’s Sill Arena Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, with the entire proceeds going to benefit the Ray Peterson Heritage Fund. Any youth hockey player wearing a hockey jersey will be admitted free, when accompanied by a ticketed adult.