Denfeld officially unveils new stadium and field name

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2023 at 12:53 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- The stadium and field at Denfeld got a brand-new name and look.

Friday night, crowds of people waited outside of the Denfeld Stadium for a special ceremony, where community members unveiled the stadium’s newly constructed pillars and name.

Chris Vadnais was one of the many audience members who attended. Vadnais reminisced about his time at Denfeld and his mark on the school’s legacy.

“We were here, playing East and I got the number 44 for the first time since junior high,” said Vadnais.

Vadnais, like many of the other alumni is showcased on the pillars, expressing gratitude for being able to be presented in the Denfeld memorial.

The alumni were recognized in the special ceremony for the impact they had on the school’s sports team.

What makes these pillars even more special to the community, they were created by Denfeld alumni, Peyton Nelson.

“It’s really special to me because I value this school a lot,” said Nelson. “I mean I got a full ride to UMD because of this school, so I feel like I owe a lot to it. To be able to do this for it is so special.”

But just above the pillars at the stadium lays the names of two Denfeld coaches, Walt Hunting, and Marv Heikkinen.

Their impact on the school is so long-lasting, that the ground they once coached on is now being named after them. Denfeld Stadium will be called the Walt Hunting Stadium at Marv Heikkinen Field.

“They are the two winningest football coaches in Denfeld history, by winning percentage,” said Tim Doyle, the co-chair of stadium renaming. “But even more than that, they are two men of tremendous character.”

A touching sight to the Denfeld community, as they watch their past come alive for future generations to see.

“You know my son is still wearing 44 shirts that grandma has decorated,” said Vadnais. “But this is my home, hunters always come home.”

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