“When we came in and pitched the idea, we were warmly accepted and we felt it gave Vinterfest the shot in the arm it needed at the time,” says the mastermind behind the annual Minnesotan Cup, Corey Roberts. “It hasn’t changed a whole lot since year one… We just wanted something small and authentic – and something that was unique to the Northeast Metro.”
As is custom with Scandia’s Vinterfest celebration, the seventh annual Minnesotan Cup is closing in on Saturday, January 25. With hockey being a staple sport in Minnesota, many travel to Scandia to enjoy the tournament along with everything else Vinterfest has to offer. However, those expecting a regular hockey game are in for a surprise if this is their first time at the Minnesotan Cup.
“The tournament is unique for a few different reasons,” says Roberts. “Primarily most of these outdoor adult hockey tournaments are pond hockey. It’s four on four, with goalies. It may not sound too different from regular hockey, but it changes the dynamic of the game completely.”
For this year’s tournament, nine returning teams will be competing in the Minnesotan Cup playing 17 games from 8 to roughly 11 p.m. Eight of those teams will be looking to take down the defending cup holders, The Donkey Show, who won the tournament in 2019. With plenty of competition ready to take the cup like 2018 winning team, The Goons, its fair to say that the Minnesotan Cup is not for the casual hockey player.
“The competition out there is pretty strong,” says Roberts. “I think the tournament has that reputation now. It’s not for the faint of heart in terms of being in condition or having the ability. So, for those guys that play once a year and decide to get the boys together for the tournament, they usually don’t do so well! But we’re glad that it’s gone in this direction.”
In support of Vinterfest and the Scandia community, all the proceeds from the Minnesotan Cup go back to the Wojtowicz Skating Rink for repairs, renovations and other needs. Roberts notes the Wojiowicz Skating rink is a “gem in the area hockey community” and is proud to continue supporting it through this competition.
Organizers of the Minnesotan Cup, with funding from the Scandia Lions, are also responsible for the wintry fireworks show toward the end of the night that Roberts feels is a very important part of the event. “The idea behind doing the fireworks was to get outside and embrace winter,” he says. “It’s usually a summer thing, but we thought, ‘why not have fireworks in the winter?’ We’re trying to make this the staple winter event in the area that people will circle on their calendar every year.”