Great Outdoors: Outdoor Hockey
DULUTH, Minn. – If you didn’t know, hockey in the state of Minnesota is kind of a big deal.
We’re true Minnesotan’s so this is what we do.
And tournaments, like the Squirt Jamboree at the Duluth Heights Recreation Center rink are a great way to introduce youngsters to the game for the future.
“Where they can go on to bantum, peewee, jv and varsity. Hopefully become assets to the Duluth area and hockey programs in Minnesota,” Rink Director, Zak Radzak says.
Even in the freezing temperatures, rather than play indoors, players and fans alike must brave the cold to participate. But not before prep work to the ice.
“Endless hours of shoveling out from the snowstorm we had. Endless hours of shoveling from the ice storm we had. The man-hours and group of people we had in this area, and all areas in Duluth. It’s incredible,” Radzak says.
And with the amount of competition from area schools for indoor rinks- not to mention the cost- playing outdoors is almost a necessity for tournaments like this.
“What we pay for Fryberger compared to amsoil all through the year with preseason ice to tournaments it’s expensive,” Woodland Hockey President, Blaine Hunter says.
It’s special because we’re the only associations that do it. That’s what makes it special. That’s why they should keep this building going and keep the heights going,” Hunter says.
Because the sport is so popular, organizers of these tournaments stress the need for more places to skate.
“You’re competing with Proctor, Cloquet, looking over in Superior. You’re looking everywhere you can. Duluth needs one more rink,” Radzak says.