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Cambridge-Isanti gets creative, relives history in 2021 season

Blue Jackets will play four outdoor games this season to allow more family and fans at games.

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. — In a season full of challenges never seen before, Cambridge-Isanti hockey is showing why Minnesota is called the state of hockey. 

"What a special week for us," Jarad Ziebarth said. 

For Zeibarth, a Blue Jackets alumni and current head coach of the boys' hockey team, the start of this hockey season is a return to his roots.

"Just 200 yards that way," he said, pointing behind him, "is where it all started here in Cambridge."

Ziebarth and his team had just finished playing one of its four games this season scheduled at Central Green Park's outdoor rink, a solution between the school district and the city to allow more fans to watch the games. 

"It's kind of like old time hockey, the way it used to be," said Mark Howard, the supervisor for Cambridge-Isanti's outdoor games this season. 

Ziebarth and Howard grew up playing and watching hockey outdoors just a few hundred yards away from where Ziebarth's current team just played. For them, it was a full-circle moment. For the players, it was a chance to finally feel the excitement of playing hockey in front of fans again. 

"Every week there was something new, we were playing, then we weren't playing, waiting weeks, waiting months," said Blue Jackets senior Easton Parnell. 

"It was just nice that we can play outdoors know so the fans can come and watch us and community can support us," senior Jacob Ziebarth said. 

Cambridge-Isanti defeated St. Francis 3-1 on Thursday night. The victory, in such unique circumstances, had a little more meaning for the team. 

"For these guys to do it in 2021, to bring back that tradition, just fantastic," Ziebarth said. 

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