Hockey Day Minnesota, the state's showcase event for the sport, will make its first southern Minnesota appearance in 2021. On Saturday, officials announced that next year's celebration will be held in Mankato. Blakeslee Stadium on the Minnesota State University-Mankato campus will host the 15th annual statewide hockey celebration.

The announcement came during the University of Minnesota women's game against Ohio State at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis on FOX Sports North. Details were revealed from a press release from the Minnesota Wild. David Wittenberg of the Mankato organizing committee also got the spotlight at Saturday night's Wild vs Dallas Stars game.

Wittenberg and Mankato committee co-chair Brad Braun are quoted in the news release, "As the waters of the Minnesota River run through our community, so does a deep passion and love for the game of hockey. We thank the Minnesota Wild and Fox Sports North for the opportunity to add our name to the long line of storied hockey communities that have hosted this tremendous event before us, and to continue to showcase why Minnesota is indeed, the State of Hockey."

Wild President Matt Majka added, "With passion for all levels of hockey in the city, including their Division I men's and women's hockey teams at Minnesota State University, Mankato, we believe the community has demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm and commitment for hosting a great celebration at next year's Hockey Day Minnesota."

The Big Nine Conference will also get a turn in the spotlight, although which team or teams will play is yet to be announced. Mankato East and West each have boys' and girls' teams; all four have made an appearance at the state tournament.

While a conference game seems unlikely, could a second Big Nine city make it on the schedule? No time frame was announced for the release of more details.

This year's event featured four outdoor high school games, one girls and three boys games. There was also a women's all-star game, NHL alumni game, and the Gophers' women's match. Parade Stadium hosted games and events for three days, Thursday through Saturday.

Hockey Day Minnesota was a brainchild of the Wild, partnering with FOX Sports North in 2007.