Hockey Day Minnesota will be special homecoming for Jamie Hersch

An opportunity to come to Minnesota? Jamie Hersch doesn’t think twice — she leaps at the chance.

Hersch, who served as a FOX Sports North host and reporter from 2013-15, will return to the air when she hosts the upcoming Hockey Day Minnesota, which will take place on Jan. 19 in Bemidji.

“It’s just really special. Any time I get a chance to come back to Minnesota it’s something I jump at,” said Hersch, who is from Champlin and now works for NHL Network.

While Hersch worked two Hockey Days while at FOX Sports North — she started in 2013 shortly after that year’s event — this will be her first time actually on site for the network.

In 2014, Hersch reported from the Minnesota Wild game on Hockey Day. That was the year Elk River hosted the event during the day and then at night Nate Prosser, a native of Elk River, tallied the game-winning goal for the Wild.

“It was just such an awesome story to cover throughout the day, his ties to the local community and him kind of being a smaller-role player (and) ended up being the hero, which was really, really exciting,” Hersch recalled.

The following year, Hirsch was surrounded by Wild fans once again — only this time 3,500 miles from St. Paul. Together with some former NHL players, she traversed to Kuwait where she spent time and interacted with troops, including staying up past 4 a.m. to watch the Wild play.

“(That’s) an experience I’ll never forget,” Hersch said.

Hersch actually was at last year’s Hockey Day in St. Cloud, working for NHL Network to help give the event some national promotion. While there, people from the Bemidji planning committee recognized her and called her name.

“Jaimie, you have to come next year, we’d love to have you!” they told her.

While that all sounded well and good, Hersch has her job and Hockey Day does fall in the middle of NHL season.

However, this past summer, FOX Sports North coordinating producer Tony Tortorici lobbied the idea to Hersch of perhaps coming back to the network — for one day — and host the 2019 event. Saying yes was easy, and as it turned out the NHL Network was agreeable and thus Hersch will find herself once again back on FOX Sports North.

“To be back there to be working alongside really close friends just a few years removed from being there in the daily grind is going to be really fun,” Hersch said.

“I always tell people, just being a Minnesotan you can’t really escape the sport of hockey.”

Despite leaving FOX Sports North in 2015, Hersch has maintained relationships with many people at the network. Whenever the Wild or Timberwolves play in the New York City/New Jersey area, Hersch makes a point to try and get together with the FOX Sports North crew.

“I can’t wait. That was the hardest part of leaving FOX Sports North to come to the NHL Network, was leaving the friends I had made behind,” Hersch said.

She’ll also get to reacquaint herself with Ben Clymer, who will be on the Hockey Day desk with Hersch. Hersch calls Clymer, along with Tom Chorske, Mike Greenlay, Wes Walz and Doug Woog, “the best teachers of the game of hockey.”

It’s with some irony that Hersch will be back in Bemidji, which was the site of one of her first assignments at FOX Sports North. But this time, it’s Hockey Day, and the show will be her baby. Speaking of which, you might be noticing something different about Hersch when she’s on the air in January — she recently announced she’s expecting her first child. Which, she says, could have another benefit.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the cold, but I’m hoping that – especially being about six months pregnant at the time – I’ll have a little extra heater in me and will keep me a little warmer,” she joked. “But other than that I have boots, jackets, hand warmers, toe warmers, things like that. Last year (in St. Cloud) it was in the 40s. That might be wishful thinking to expect the same in Bemidji.”

Hersch is counting down the days, ready to return home and talk with Minnesota fans. Although that relationship didn’t end even with her moving away to New York. Hersch said among people who interact with her on social media, Minnesotans top the list.

“It’s really going to be special to interact to the fans there and bring more attention to the Wild and FOX Sports North are doing to put on this event,” Hersch said.

“I’m just really excited, it’s going to be so much fun.”

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Lake Bemidji – Bemidji, MN

Hockey Day Minnesota
9 a.m.

Boys High School Hockey: Minnetonka vs. Andover
9:30 a.m.

NCAA Women: Bemidji State vs. Minnesota State Mankato
1 p.m.

Boys High School Hockey: Bemidji vs. Greenway
4:30 p.m.

NCAA Men: St. Cloud State vs. Western Michigan
6 p.m. on FOX Sports North PLUS

NHL: Wild vs. Blue Jackets
8 p.m.