MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite our recent stretch of mild weather, officials say Lake Nokomis will be ready for this weekend’s U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.

Event workers are spending Wednesday getting all 25 rinks ready to go for the tournament, which starts Thursday night with 50 kids teams in action. Organizers say the ice on Lake Nokomis is between 11.5 and 14 inches thick.

Organizer Jim Dahline said the ice conditions on the lake are the best they’ve had for the tournament. Officials check multiple spots on Lake Nokomis to ensure player safety.

Dahline said players are anxious to get out on the ice and play, especially after it was announced the tournament had to be delayed due to poor ice conditions. There will be 225 total teams competing this year.

Spectators may have the greatest advantage this year as mild temperatures are expected into the weekend. They won’t have to watch the games out in the extreme cold. The expected mild conditions and a chance for a wintry mix could affect the playing surface, but organizers say conditions are never perfect for pond hockey.

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