Area hockey fans, get ready for a entertaining night of hockey at the Eagle River Sports Arena.

Fast-paced NCAA Division III college hockey is coming to the historic Dome as UW-Stout will face Finlandia University of Hancock, Mich., this Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. 

The game was the brainchild of UW-Stout Hockey Coach Terry Watkins. It also has special meaning for one player on the Blue Devils’ roster, Adam Kresl of Eagle River, who played his youth and high school hockey in the Dome.

After graduating from Northland Pines in 2013, when he was named the Great Northern Conference player of the year in hockey, Kresl played Junior hockey for the Kenai River (Alaska) Brown Bears and Minnesota Wilderness. Kresl, a 6-foot, 205-pound junior forward, is now a captain for the Blue Devils. He said he is excited about returning to the Dome and bringing his teammates to Eagle River, billed as the Hockey Capital of Wisconsin.

“It should be a great event. I’m very excited to be back at the rink I grew up in and also to be able to show my teammates what Eagle River is all about,” said Kresl, who wears No. 21 for the Blue Devils. “It’ll be a lot of fun to play in front of a familiar crowd again and in an arena I’ve had so many memories at. I can’t wait.”

The Blue Devils have a 7-4-1 record so far this season, while Finlandia is currently 3-7-1. 

Tony Brown of the ERRA said the college hockey game will be a fundraiser for the organization that promotes youth hockey and figure skating. Ticket prices for the game are $5 per adult and $3 per child and Nicolet National Bank in Eagle River will be matching the game receipts up to $1,500. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Nicolet or at the rink (day of game).

“We also are encouraging fans to bring a donation for the Vilas Food Pantry,” said Brown. “In addition, Miller will be donating some beer and signage for the event, and Eagle Waters Resort is helping UW-Stout with housing.”

Earlier in the day, Brown said the UW-Stout coaching staff and players will be holding a youth hockey clinic at the rink starting about noon.

Coach Watkins said he played senior hockey with a team out of St. Paul from about 1975 to 1985, playing several times a year in the Dome at Eagle River.

“Years ago I used to play against Larry Snedden, Tom Obrodovich, the Carter boys, and I thought it would be kind of a fun stop,” said Watkins, who has coached at UW-Stout for 31 years. “Over the years, I have had kids from different communities. It’s just one of those things if it aligns with our schedule and I get a kid that has been good for our program, we try to do something like this. It’s been a lot of fun when we have done it in the past.”

It should also be a great game for fans, as the UW-Stout players hail from Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as Alaska, Sweden, Quebec, Finland and Russia.