An interesting side story to the upcoming set of International Ice Hockey Federation games that will be played in Thief River Falls is the fact that all practices will be open to the public free of charge.
While that might not create a stir for the average fan, it could be interesting for some, especially coaches and youth hockey players who might like to see what kind of drills and intensity players from around the world bring to the rink.
The April 10-12 exhibition series in Thief River Falls, which leads to the IIHF U18 World Championship tournament in Grand Forks April 14-24, will include Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Finland, Latvia and Denmark. They will be joined by an All-Star team featuring area high school players.
Switzerland, Slovakia, Russia, Latvia and Finland will conduct practices here. Denmark will not.
All IIHF activity in Thief River Falls will take place at the Huck Olson Memorial Civic Center.
Ticket sales for the games likely got a boost when it was reported last week that the All-Star team scheduled to play Latvia in the 7 p.m. Tuesday exhibition series final will feature a group of high school players from Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks, Roseau, Park Rapids, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Grand Forks, N.D.
Prowlers who will be given the chance to experience hockey at the international level include goalie Kade Nelson and defenseman Brendan Bushy, along with the top forward line from Thief River Falls’ 2016 Section 8A championship team: Ethan Johnson, Michael Johnson and Lucas Magnusson.
They will be joined by Trevor Selk, East Grand Forks; Bryden Stoskopf, Roseau; Chase Brand, Park Rapids, Micah Miller, Blake McLaughlin, Grand Rapids; Scott Perunovich, Hibbing; Brock Montgomery, Collin Caufield and Grant Johnson, Grand Forks.
Additional names may be on that list by game time.
Advance sale tickets are available at the Ralph Engelstad Arena from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. A five-game pass will be $25 for ages 13-over and $15 for ages 6-12. Individual game prices will be $8 and $5.
IIHF TRF Practice Schedule
n Wednesday, April 6 – Switzerland, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
n Thursday, Aril 7 – Switzerland, 10-11:30 a.m.
n Friday, April 8 – Switzerland, 10-11:30 a.m.; Slovakia, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; Russia, 1:30-3 p.m.; Slovakia, 6-7:30 p.m.
n Saturday, April 9 – Switzerland, 10-11:30 a.m.; Slovakia, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; Russia, 1:30-3 p.m.; Latvia, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
n Sunday, April 10 – Slovakia, 8-8:45 a.m.; Russia, 9-9:45 a.m.; Switzerland, 10-10:45 a.m.; Latvia, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
n Monday, April 11 – Latvia, 9:30-10:15 a.m.; Slovakia, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Russia, 12:15-1:45 p.m.; Switzerland, 2-3:30 p.m.; Finland, 3:45-5:15 p.m.
n Tuesday, April 12 – Slovakia, 9-9:30 a.m.; Switzerland, 9:45-10:15 a.m.; Latvia, 10:30-11 a.m.; Finland, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Russia, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
IIHF TRF Game Schedule
n Sunday, April 10 – Russia vs. Slovakia, 4 p.m.; Switzerland vs. Finland, 7 p.m.
n Monday, April 11 – Latvia vs. Denmark, 7 p.m.
n Tuesday, April 12 – Switzerland vs. Slovakia, 4 p.m.; Latvia vs. All-Stars, 7 p.m.