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Blue Line Bids raises more than $19,000

Photo provided Matt Jones studies the bids and prizes Saturday evening during the Blueline Fundraiser at the Wadena Elks Lodge. More than $19,000 was raised for the Wadena Hockey Association.

The 13th annual Blue Line Bids fundraising event Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Elks Lodge in Wadena raised more than $19,000 for hockey in Wadena.

The figure raised is the second highest in the history of the event, according to Wadena Association member Matt Najjar.

Businesses, organizations and individuals make donations with one aim in mind - to make hockey affordable for families in Wadena and surrounding communities.

Blue Line Bids is hosted by parents of the high school hockey teams and supported by all the members of the Wadena Hockey Club.

The theme of this year's event was There's No Place Like Home. Guests were encouraged to show their local pride by wearing their hometown jerseys and letter jackets.

Hockey continues to rebound two years after an EF4 tornado destroyed the Wadena Community Center. The center housed both the ice arena and a fitness center. The building was replaced last fall by a $750,000 steel structure which encloses the hockey arena, bleachers, press box, concessions area and locker rooms.

Najjar noted that hockey is now on the rebound but the association is dealing with a myriad of additional expenses in the form of reconstruction, equipment replacement and travel. The return of hockey has already meant the return of teams from all around the area to the community. According to Najjar, the rebirth of home tournaments will mean the return of large groups of visitors in town for entire weekends.

Prizes at the event could be won through raffles, silent and live auctions. The list of prizes is long. Some of the notable prizes include:

• Flag bearer for the Minnesota Wild's Feb. 9 game with Vancouver Canucks, and four lower level tickets

• Portable fish house

• Two big screen TVs

• Electric trolling motor

• Black powder rifle

• Hockey camp package

• Golf packages

• Canadian fishing trip

• Meat and seafood raffle and freezer of meat

• UMD Bulldog Hockey jersey (signed by the team) -- Reigning NCAA National Champions

• BSU Beaver hockey tickets

• Authentic Italian dinner for 8, catered into your home by the Wolverine Hockey coaches and wives

• Autographed photos of NHL stars

• Reserved parking places (2) at the new arena

• "Get-out-of-fundraising pass" -- next hockey season

• Pair of handmade adirondack chairs and table

• Gift certificates and discounts to area businesses