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Outdoor rinks ready ahead of US Pond Hockey Championships

For nearly two decades, the tournament has drawn thousands of people to the Twin Cities to watch and play hockey.

MINNEAPOLIS — Mild temperatures and snow have created more work for ice operators trying to prepare nearly two dozen rinks for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.

"To the people at home — think cold thoughts," Taylor Rinta, ice operator joked. 

Rinta says their crew has been shoveling the ice all week and has put in a combined 100 hours in prep work. 

"The tag line for pond hockey is 'hockey the way nature intended' so we are used to whatever nature throws at us," creator of the event, Fred Haberman said. 

Haberman passed down the reins of the event years ago, but says he is still one of its biggest supporters. 

"Hockey is in our DNA," Haberman joked. 

He recalled one year when it rained, and they had to move around the schedule. Another year, the generator gave out. Haberman says a little slush on the lake won't slow them down. 

KARE Meteorologist Jamie Kagol says the ice will thicken if the snow stays off it. 

"Snow is going to act as an insulator." Kagol said. "So, it's like the lake is wearing a jacket right now."

The puck drops Friday on Lake Nokomis at 9:15 a.m. 

For more information on the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, click here.

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