By John Lauritsen

CARLOS, Minn. (WCCO) – Near the town of Carlos, you’ll find frozen farmland as far as the eye can see.

But on Pat Waldorf’s farm, things are starting to heat up.

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“Needed a place to skate other than the rink in town. Needed a little more ice time, so we thought ‘Why not get some buddies together and build our own rink?'” Waldorf said.

Using a “Field of Dreams” mentality, Waldorf decided to build a hockey rink in the middle of a farm.

But this is no ordinary rink. Waldorf paid $20,000 for a set of professional boards. And his investment has already been a win.

“Got about five of us together and it took us about 20 hours because we didn’t know what we were doing,” he said. “It’s our rookie season, but next year we will have it done in about five or six hours.”

The rink also came with glass and lights, but the cold and wind have made it hard to be out there after dark.

Waldorf attaches a broom to his bobcat to clean off the ice, and his Zamboni is simply a PVC pipe attached to a hose.

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The idea is to save friends and family money on ice time by creating a rink with a private feel, where young skaters – like Waldorf’s son Bennett and his friend Sam – can work on their skills.

“We work on a bunch of stuff like stick handling and stuff like that,” Bennett said.

Waldorf’s pole barn serves as the warming house. And if it’s too cold, there’s always dry-land training.

But despite this brutal winter, neighbor Ryan Severson says the rink has scored with his kids.

“The kids love it. You have to keep an eye on them to make sure they are still the right color and not frozen,” Severson said.

As many as 15 kids can be found on the ice on any given night. They’re hoping the weather gets better, but even if it doesn’t, the rink is here to stay.

Waldorf says they’re hoping to have leagues on the ice in the future.

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Without having to pay $100 or more per hour for ice time, Waldorf thinks the investment will pay off sooner than later.

John Lauritsen