"It's a huge relief": US Pond Hockey Championships underway after early ice concerns
MINNEAPOLIS – Saturday's contests at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships at Lake Nokomis were perfectly on track, much to the delight of event organizers following a delayed start Friday.
Above average temperatures paired with snow in the week leading up to the event lead to uncertain ice conditions.
"Even the night before I wasn't super confident the players weren't going to be able to skate out here," said Ice Operations Manager Nolan Rinto. "Seeing the pucks drop and having 17, 18 games going on was a huge weight off of all of our shoulders."
Rinto said crews worked with Zambonis, while others flooded, scraped and shoveled the rinks.
"It's a lot of experimentation, honestly," he said. "Anything we can try to get the ice down to a good skateable condition."
"We don't know what January will bring us," said Director of Operation Jody Delorit.
As games continued Saturday, skaters didn't seem to mind.
"It's awesome, man. It's gorgeous. I mean, just look at it. It's beautiful," said Eric Jackson, a member of the Texas Rattlesnakes. "But it's tough, honestly. The first time I got onto the pond, I didn't think I knew how to skate anymore. You get used to it."
The event will continue throughout the weekend, before returning to the lake next weekend.