Transforming Xcel from Hockey to Wrestling (WATCH)
The home of the Wild turns into the venue for the state wrestling tournament each winter. Watch this time-lapse video of the makeover.
For three days each winter the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul is transformed into the site of the Minnesota state wrestling tournament. Eight mats take over the floor of the building and fans fill the seats to the rafters to cheer on their wrestlers.
I have had the opportunity to cover the state tournament for the past few years. I am impressed with how well it is all organized. There are well over 1,000 matches that take place over two days for the individual tournament. Yet everyone seems to get to the correct mat in a timely fashion with good identification at each mat to know who you are watching.
The finals on Saturday night put a nice focus on each of the athletes. Owatonna's Peyton Robb opened up the finals this year with a state championship, the 23rd individual state title for the Owatonna program.