MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lake Nokomis is the scene of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship, and despite the aggressive weather, they tell me things could be worse.

“We’re much happier with the weather we’ve got this weekend than the weather we’ve faced in the past,” Jim Dahline, spokesperson for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship, said.

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In the spirit of Minnesota optimism, the organizers of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship are focusing on the positive.

“The ice is fantastic. We’ve been able to have a full week of smoothing everything out, fixing cracks and imperfections,” Dahline said.

It’s a perk they don’t take for granted.

“The temperatures in the past few years have gotten up in the forties, which has created pooling and less than ideal condition,” Dahline said.

This year it will be below zero, but referee Mike Peterson is above it all.

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“I’m born and raised here in Minnesota and the cold is what I’m used to. Colder is better,” Peterson said.

But, he says, you better be prepared.

“I’ll have goggles on, a ski mask on to protect my face, big mittens to protect my hands,” Peterson said.

Peterson plans to take five-minute breaks between games.

Even though the weekend adult match-ups Peterson will ref will go on, there’s a hard freeze on tonight’s games.

“Unfortunately we had to cancel the skating portion of youth night because most of our participants are between the ages of 5 and 10, and with temperatrues getting to what they are forecasted to be, we want to make sure they stay safe,” Dahline said.

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The U.S. Pond Hockey tournament activities run from Thursday through Sunday. After Thursday, games are expected to go on as planned.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield