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Kiwanis Hockey Festival brings more than just goals to Rochester

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27th Annual Kiwanis Hockey Festival
Day 1 of the 27th Annual Kiwanis Hockey Festival.
Mr. Pizza South
The impact of the Kiwanis Hockey Festival is felt throughout Rochester, especially at restaurants like Mr. Pizza South.
Flapdoodles Homemade Ice Cream
The impact of the Kiwanis Hockey Festival is felt throughout Rochester, such as Flapdoodles Homemade Ice Cream.

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- While it may feel warmer outside, inside it's all ice. Hockey season is here and the 27th annual Kiwanis Hockey Festival started Thursday afternoon.

It's is a great time for both hockey fans and businesses in the surrounding area. 24 teams, four states, all coming to Rochester, but it's more than just pucks in the backs of nets.

"It's good for the community. This is another side line to it, that the Chamber is estimating we probably bring in over a quarter-of-a-million dollars to the community. In three days, that's pretty good," said Bob Nowicki, Kiwanis Hockey Festival Co-Director.

And area businesses say they feel that push.

"We get a lot of people coming from the games. It brings a lot of people to the area, so it's great this time of the year, our busiest time of the year," said Mr. Pizza South Owner, Ryan Fulton.

Even the semi-unseasonal places like Flapdoodles Ice Cream can see an uptick this weekend.

"We are anticipating some extra customers this evening and the rest of the weekend," said Matt Tierney, Flapdoodles Ice Cream Owner.

Between the fans, organizers, refs and players, there's plenty of mouths to feed around Graham Arena.

"We get a lot of big orders coming from teams. A lot of times they'll call in 10-15 pizzas and swing by on their bus or have their parents swing by and get them, bring them over to the hotel. We see a lot of fans with their gear on coming to dine in," explained Fulton.

But this is all part of a bigger momentum build for the southern reaches of town. If you look past Graham Arena, you'll see new hotels and businesses.. drawing people and their money down south Broadway.

"It is kind of a developing area, some new buildings right next door there's a new hotel and there will be some new retail close to the Graham Arena. So we're kind of excited about the potential for additional traffic down this area," added Tierney.

All of this working together to create a memorable experience for many Rochester visitors.

"The nice thing is that we've managed a pretty good tournament and we get requests to come back. We don't have to look too hard, most teams say 'please, can we come back? We love it.' It's a well run tournament, but Rochester is such a friendly town as we know it," continued Nowicki.

The tournament will continue through the rest of the weekend and should once again boost the bottom lines of those businesses.

Plus the Rotary Classic Basketball tournament begins on Friday, a good time for sports and business.

Holden Krusemark

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