MANKATO FREE PRESS, Mankato, MN (April 13, 2021) — The timing couldn’t have been better.
Not only were Minnesota State University’s Mavericks hockey team finalists for the Frozen Four championship games in Pittsburgh last week, but two giant bull head sculptures that blow fog through their nostrils with eyes that light up in purple, the team’s color, will now greet fans before games.
The sculptures, which were permanently installed in front of the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center Monday by Minneapolis-based artist Kyle Fokken, are part of a public-private partnership between Twin Rivers Council for the Arts, the city of Mankato and the Mankato Area Foundation — funded by local donors Michelle and David Schooff.
“I graduated from MSU and we are both very passionate Maverick hockey fans,” Michelle Schooff said. “Coach (Mike) Hastings has really built the program into something special; a perennial top five team and just the groundswell of fan experience is what we really wanted to capitalize on.”
David Schooff said they were inspired while watching a pre-game show on television at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta a couple years ago, where the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames play, complete with shooting flames in the plaza outside.
“We saw what the Calgary Flames were doing and thought, why not do something similar for the Mavericks?” Michelle Schooff said.
The couple approached the Mankato Area Foundation last year to get the ball rolling, who in turn reached out to Twin Rivers Council for the Arts to look for an artist, said MAF President Nancy Zallek.