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Quote Me, Howie: Chamber's Daniel Fanning; Vikings, prep sports in the news


My acutely-humble buddy Daniel Fanning, Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Policy and Strategy and Executive Director of the Duluth Chamber Foundation, on his strong lobbying efforts in St. Paul: "In the first week of the 2024 State Legislative Session, I spent all day Monday and part of Tuesday in Saint Paul meeting with legislators (on both sides of the aisle, in both the House and Senate) and staff discussing and advocating for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce legislative priorities and delivering invitations to Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol Days, coming up March 6-7. I also joined colleagues and board members at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce session priorities dinner Monday evening.

On Tuesday morning, I called into KDAL for our usual Tuesday morning Chamber check in segment and discussed our legislative priorities, the start of session and upcoming Duluth Area Chamber events. As I said in that interview, the session is off to a fast start and there’s a lot of talk about it being a short session. That’s why it’s as important as ever to have a strong presence at the Capitol and ensure our region’s priorities remain top of mind.

I am grateful for our impressive and accessible local legislators, and their outstanding staff, for their support, leadership and partnership. I'm also grateful to have strong bipartisan support on a number of key priorities including the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth Airport Authority, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, the Duluth Armory, Lot D, the Saint Louis County Depot, other infrastructure and bonding requests throughout the region, and key issues including housing, economic development, childcare, workforce development, taxes, permitting reform and more. We’ll keep at it and continue to keep you updated as we consistently advocate for our community, local businesses and our region."

Vikings to play at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2024

The Minnesota Vikings are returning to the United Kingdom in 2024.

The NFL announced Minnesota as a designated team to play a regular-season game at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of the 2024 International Games.

The week and opponent have not been determined, but the game will come from one of the nine scheduled regular-season home games for the Vikings (all NFC teams are scheduled for nine in 2024, continuing an alternating format that began with the AFC in 2021).

"We are honored to once again represent the NFL in the continued effort to make the game of football more accessible globally," said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. "We've seen tremendous international support of the Vikings with our previous three London games and with our successful bid to land the United Kingdom as a global market. Our focus will be on winning for the fourth consecutive time in London, along with replicating the incredible game-day environment we enjoy in Minnesota and creating a memorable experience for our partners and fans."

Minnesota and the St. Louis Cardinals played the first NFL exhibition game on European soil in 1983, winning at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings also emerged from exhibition games in Sweden (1988), Germany (1993) and Japan (1994) with victories.

The Vikings returned to the United Kingdom in 2013 for their first international regular-season game and claimed a 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. In 2017, Minnesota visited London and defeated the Cleveland Browns 33-16 in Week 8 at Twickenham Stadium.

Minnesota met the New Orleans Saints in 2022 and left the Week 4 matchup with a 28-25 win thanks to a double doink on a field goal that would have tied the game.

In addition to the Vikings, the NFL announced the Chicago Bears also will play a game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the venue that was designed with special emphasis on hosting NFL games, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will return to London for the 12th time and play at Wembley Stadium as part of that organization's multi-year commitment to playing a game in the U.K.

Additionally, the NFL designated the Carolina Panthers to play in Munich, Germany, marking the third consecutive regular season that at least one game has been played in Germany.

A fifth 2024 International Game has been announced for São Paulo, Brazil, but no teams have been announced for what will be the first NFL game in South America.

"Taking our game to more fans around the world is a major priority for the league and its 32 teams, and we are delighted to be returning to London and Munich in 2024," said Peter O'Reilly, executive vice president, club business, league events and international at the NFL. "Whether tackle or flag football, international passion for the game and the NFL continues to grow, and having our teams and their world-class athletes play games and engage with fans around the world is an important part of becoming a truly global sport."

All four designated teams playing in the U.K. and Germany are part of the NFL's Global Markets Program, which awards international marketing rights to NFL teams in countries beyond the U.S. The Bears, Vikings and Jaguars have international marketing rights in the U.K., and the Panthers are among teams with marketing rights in Germany.

While there will be no international game in Mexico in 2024 due to Estadio Azteca renovations in Mexico City, the league has confirmed that future international games will return once they are complete.

With the expansion of the NFL schedule in 2021, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams are eligible for a ninth regular-season home game are now designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

Following a recent vote by NFL clubs to increase league-operated international game inventory from four to eight games a season, beginning in 2025 the NFL will have the right to schedule up to eight regular season games per season internationally. New markets and host cities/stadiums for future seasons will be announced at later dates.

Prep Sports

Hermantown boys hockey coach Patrick Andrews on his team capturing the Lake Superior Conference championship with a convincing 4-1 victory at Grand Rapids in the final game of the regular season: “Winning the LSC title at Rapids was a phenomenal way to finish the regular season. We all like to win, especially when it’s for the conference title. But more importantly, I was so impressed with how the boys played in a very difficult environment. We fell behind early, but we rallied behind a great performance in the net from Dane Callaway, who held the boys in it until we got our feet under us. We took the game over in the second period, sparked by a great effort from AJ Francisco who drove deep into the zone and then found Henry Peterson in the high slot, who sniped it. Andrew Johnson got the game-winning goal a few minutes later on a great hard play by all five guys on the ice, getting the puck from low to high and then attacking the net. We extended the lead in the third period on the power-play when Josh Kauppinen found Charlie Marchand from below the goal line. Ford Skytta got us the insurance goal off another great hard work forecheck play by all five guys on the ice. I thought the Grand Rapids game to end the season was one of our most complete efforts of the season. We got great goaltending as always and the boys responded well to some adversity, after giving up the first goal and having 3,000 people screaming and yelling at us. The boys leaned into each other, kept their game simple, and blocked out the ‘noise’. We played great hockey as a team the last two periods. Grand Rapids is as good as it gets for a high school hockey atmosphere (they sell season tickets!). It is such a tough place to win and to finish the regular season each year with that game is such a good way to prepare us for the feel of playoff hockey.”


Section 7A Boys Hockey Quarterfinals

Hermantown 14, International Falls 0. Game Notes: Junior forward River Freeman scored two goals and added four assists for the top-seeded Hawks. Senior goaltender Dane Callaway had nine saves for Hermantown (16-8-2), which will face heavy underdog Proctor in the semifinal matchup Saturday night at Amsoil Arena.

Proctor 5, North Shore 1. Game Notes: Wyatt Mineheine scored three goals for the Rails (19-7-0), who face an immensely more challenging opponent in Hermantown in a Saturday semifinal. The Hawks won their only meeting in the regular season, 2-1 on Jan. 7 in Proctor.

Hibbing-Chisholm 4, Greenway 1. Game Notes: Isaiah Hildenbrand scored twice and Tate Swanson contributed three assists as the Bluejackets out-shot the Raiders 49-7 at Hibbing Memorial Arena. Hibbing-Chisholm (18-8-0) meets Cloquet-Esko-Carlton in a 7A semifinal nightcap Saturday at Amsoil Arena.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 12, Ely 0. Game Notes: Junior forward Bobby Thornton had three goals and a pair of assists for the host Lumberjacks. C-E-C (13-13-0) edged Hibbing-Chisholm 4-3 on Nov. 28 in the season opener for both teams in Cloquet.

Section 7AA Boys Hockey Quarterfinals

Duluth East 5, Duluth Denfeld 1. Game Notes: Senior forward Thomas Gunderson had a hat trick and five points for the Greyhounds (10-15-1), who earned a rematch against Andover in a 7AA semifinal Saturday afternoon at Amsoil Arena. Duluth East fell to the host Huskies 4-2 on Dec. 19.

Andover 6, Duluth Marshall 1. Game Notes: K.J. Sauer had a pair of goals and an assist for the defending 7AA champion Huskies at home. Andover (17-8-1) has won three of its last four.

Grand Rapids 9, Cambridge-Isanti 0. Game Notes: Seth Carlson had a two-goal, two-assist game for the host Thunderhawks (15-11-0), who advance to face Rock Ridge in a 7AA semifinal Saturday afternoon at Amsoil Arena.

Rock Ridge 4, Forest Lake 3 4OTs. Game Notes: Grady Dimberio scored the game-winner for the host Wolverines (20-5-1), who will face Grand Rapids for the first time this season Saturday in a 7AA semifinal at Amsoil.

Boys Basketball (Regular Season)

Esko 82, Crosby-Ironton 70. Games Notes: Burly center Braedyn Male had 21 points, and teammates Dalton Spindler, Koi Perich and Sam Haugen combined for 51 points as Class 2A, No. 9-ranked Esko (17-6) raced past the visiting 2A, No. 6 Rangers (19-3).

Cloquet 73, Duluth East 61. Game Notes: Junior phenom Jack Battaglia scored 21 points as the Jacks coasted to an easy victory at Cloquet Middle School Gym, thanks to double-digit scoring efforts from four starters. Ty Nyberg had a game-high 25 points for the Greyhounds.