Ice hockey players

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, which means it’s also the land of 10,000 hockey rinks.

Dahline: “There were always games after school, you know you just couldn’t wait to get home, and then try and figure out how to get some floodlights together to play into the evening.”

That’s Jim Dahline, a life-long Minnesotan whose love of outdoor hockey started in childhood. Today, he’s marketing director for the Labatt Blue U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, an annual tournament held on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis in January.

Dahline: “Pond hockey really is hockey the way nature intended.”

'Pond hockey really is hockey the way nature intended.' But conditions aren't what they used to be. Click To Tweet

But, he says, conditions for the sport are not what they used to be. Winters in Minnesota are getting warmer faster than in many other parts of the country.

Two years ago, organizers had to postpone the tournament because of melt water on the ice. And last year, if not for a last-minute cold snap, they would have had to postpone it again.

Dahline: “So we really, really lucked out last year.”

It’s not only a problem for the tournament. If Minnesota winters continue to warm, there will be fewer opportunities for kids of all ages to strap on a pair of skates and enjoy a pick-up game under the winter sun.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Courtesy of Jim Dahline.

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