Created: 04/12/2014 3:37 PM KAALtv.com
(KSTP) - Police and University of Minnesota officials might be preparing for Saturday night just as intensely as the men's hockey team.
University officials say Minneapolis Police and University of Minnesota Police have been working on a post-game plan for Dinkytown for two months. There could be as many as 300 officers in the area the night of the championship game.
"Remember, if things escalate police don't distinguish between bystanders and participants," said Pamela Wheelock, Vice President of University Service.
After an exciting finish to the NCAA Frozen Four game against North Dakota, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis police are investigating the massive celebration among students that turned criminal.Hundreds of people flooded the streets in Dinkytown near the University's campus Thursday night, forcing officers from across the Twin Cities metro to break up the crowd.
According to the Minneapolis Police Department, several people were arrested and an undetermined amount of public and police property was damaged during the incident and two Minneapolis police officers were taken to a hospital for medical attention.
People were seen throwing bottles, jumping on cars and climbing light poles. Some students even jumped on a Minneapolis police squad car while others were turning over newspaper stands and even lighting fireworks in the street.
“I was at the Library, and it kind of erupted,” student Amanda Snyder said, “and then as we went out everybody was kind of storming the streets.”
It took more than 100 officers dressed in riot gear to calm the crowd, and they even had to use force on some students. Officers resorted to using pepper spray and shooting bean bags in to the mass of students on Fourth Street trying to break up the crowd. The crowd eventually dispersed around 1:30 a.m. Friday.
“It’s just a hockey game,” student Frank Brown said. “They should be celebrating in good style, not like that.”
Most of those who were arrested and cited for disobedience were University of Minnesota students.
“They were having a good time and celebrating our win, but it just got out of hand,” student Sarah Ghannam said. “We were too excited; I don’t think being excited is a bad thing, I just think the things that happened kind of ruined it for tonight.”
Minneapolis police are reviewing video footage and asking for witnesses who may have video or other evidence to come forward with more information. Those who wish to do so can call the tip line at 612-692-TIPS (8477).
The Gophers will face-off against Union College on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. CST in Philadelphia for the 2014 NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament championships.