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Athletics: Attendance could go up at prep events

State hockey and basketball could see larger number of fans admitted.

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The Minnesota State High School League sent out a press release following Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement that Minnesota will allow for larger crowds.

“Governor Walz’s announcement today (Friday, March 12) allows the League to plan for more spectators to attend exciting events and tournaments beginning on April 1, 2021.

“The League and its member schools have focused on a safe progression of increased participation and experiences for students throughout the course of the pandemic, while implementing the important requirements and guidance provided by the Governor and the Minnesota Department of Health. Beginning with practice last summer, through regular seasons in the fall, and now advancing to virtual and in-person winter state tournaments, the League continues its mission of providing great opportunities for students. This progression takes another step forward in April.

“Our League has worked and will continue to work actively with our high schools and major sports venues to provide safe experiences for students and their fans. This dramatic increase has great potential to offer more spectators a chance to take part in these amazing events” said Erich Martens, MSHSL Executive Director. “This year has been filled with challenges, yet our students, coaches and administrators remain resilient and have been amazing in their commitment, flexibility and partnership. It is great to see our state opening up even more.”

Most of the Winter state tournaments will have already concluded before April 1, but the announcement will affect the semifinals of the state boys and girls hockey tournaments and basketball tournaments. The state hockey tournament will be held at Xcel Energy Center, while the state basketball tournament will be at Target Center. Both tournaments could see an increase in fan numbers.

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“As plans are adjusted and new protocols created, the priority will be to increase access for those spectators closest to the participants and schools participating in the tournament,” the press release read.

“The League and its venue partners are engaged in discussions to adjust plans and protocols that would allow for additional spectators. The League will provide additional information related to spectator attendance as plans are finalized.”

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