Minnesota Wild players coming to Ely on June 1

by Nick Wognum

The Minnesota Wild hockey team will include Ely as part of its promotional travel tour this summer. <BR><BR>On June 1 one current player and other representatives of the Wild will be in town.<BR><BR>At 10 a.m. the Wild will visit with elementary students at Washington Auditorium. <BR><BR>A luncheon will follow in the Ely Ice Arena, from 10:45 a.m. to noon. Tickets for the luncheon are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. <BR><BR>Tickets are available from Blue Line members or by calling Betsy Leustek at 365-4903. <BR><BR>The Wild visit is sponsored by Wells Fargo, the Ely Blue Line and WELY. <BR><BR>Autographed items such as sticks, pucks, photos and yearbooks will be raffled off at the luncheon. <BR><BR>The visit may also help efforts to secure grant funding for some major repairs needed at the arena.<BR><BR>Robin Mathews briefed the Ely School Board last Monday on plans to submit a grant application to replace the concrete floor and piping system that was installed 31 years ago and had a 25-year predicted life.<BR><BR> The estimated cost for the floor replacement is $400,000. <BR><BR>Mathews said the NHL has a “Goals and Dreams” grant program that the Blue Line will be applying to for funding. <BR><BR>“If we can get a current NHL player to endorse our application you’re far more on your way to getting a grant,” said Mathews.<BR><BR>He said the visit by a Wild player will provide an opportunity to tout the arena project and push for the player’s endorsement.<BR><BR>“We’ll have a player in our facility and we’ll be able to give him a tour and we’ll have a letter of endorsement in hand for him to sign,” said Mathews.<BR><BR>School superintendent Ray Toutloff said that the district’s recent investment of $775,000 for new locker rooms should help the grant application. <BR><BR>The board passed a motion to support the Blue Line’s grant application.