By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You know it when you smell it — hockey.

It’s unique, overwhelming and it’s taken over part of the Xcel Energy Center this week with the boy’s high school tournament.

That has Brad from Bloomington wanting to know, what is “hockey smell?” Good Question.

Is it old lemons, dirty socks? Or is it really just like 10 unshowered boys in a room?

We get it — it’s bad.

“I can’t smell it anymore, because I’m kind of gone,” Rick Bronwell, assistant equipment manager for the Wild, said. “You know that Febreeze commercial with the nose blind? That’s me.”

“It’s an accustom — an acquired taste,” he said.

This is where it comes from — sweat mixes with the bacteria that already lives on our skin. That bacteria eats the sugars in the sweat, and it’s the bacteria’s waste product that creates the stink.

The bacteria that make the smells aren’t dangerous, but other microbes are.

“Those aren’t our main concern,” Bronwell said. “Our main concerns is merza, staph infections…”

So how do you get rid of the smell?

“What we do is we have a spray,” Bronwell said. “It kills it a little bit and it has a little fresh, like a cucumber melon scent, so it’s almost like you’re walking into a Bath and Body Works.”

Other hockey fans at the state tournament had a few recommendations — dryer sheets or soap in the skates.

They also have a $15,000 Sani-Sport ozone machine. It’s 1,000 times stronger than bleach.

“Ozone — it just kills a lot of stuff,” Bronwell said.

And they wash the gear at the end of the season.

“I think the biggest thing to get rid of smell is when you have new gear, hang it up after every practice, after every game,” Bronwell said.

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