Their days together are numbered. This season's Steele County Blades hockey team feels like a tightly knit group. When the season comes to an end, there will likely be some heavy hearts and maybe even a few tears. They bring back plenty of the roster from the 2020-21 season when they faced restrictions due to the pandemic and may have grown closer together due to that fact.

The team is looking to push that final day off as far as possible. A home playoff series could play into extending their time together. With just a couple of weeks to go in the regular season, the Blades are in fifth place in the Midwest West Division of the United States Premier Hockey League.

They are three points behind the Minnesota Moose for fourth place and home ice advantage. The Blades face the Moose twice more including Friday night, February 18 at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine.

Steele County starts their busy weekend with a Thursday, February 17 game at the Minnesota Mullets at Augsburg Ice Arena at 7:30 pm. The Blades also host the first-place Minnesota Blue Ox Saturday, February 19 at 2 pm at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. They close out the weekend Sunday versus the Moose again at Princeton Ice Arena at 6:50 pm in a makeup game.

The Blades have seven games remaining entering play Thursday. The Moose have four left. Steele County would seem to control their own destiny.

MEET SOME OF THE PLAYERS (Interviews below)

Recent interviews I have conducted with members of the Blades include a couple of returners from last season, Joey Bunton and Ryan Kerr. Bunton found out about junior hockey when his brother looked into it. Kerr loved the outdoor game at Hockey Day Minnesota and had the experience of playing in one while growing up in Michigan.

First year players Dylan Carlson and Nate Gulsvig are enjoying their time in Owatonna.

Click on names below to hear the interview.

Blades player Joey Bunton

Blades player Ryan Kerr

Steele County player Dylan Carlson

Blades goalie Nate Gulsvig

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Hockey Day Minnesota 2022, Mankato

Minnesota State University-Mankato hosted Hockey Day MN. The eight-day festival featured all levels from youth to Division I, including a junior game for the first time.