MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Unless you grew up skating on a frozen lake it can be hard to imagine, but 300 teams from all over the world are playing in the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis.

“Once you’re moving out here this is perfect condition for hockey. I think maybe we listen to the hype too much,” Jim Dahline, with the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, said.

The game of ice hockey was invented on a frozen lake and meant to be played in frigid conditions. Ask any of the 2,500 players out there and they’ll tell you there’s no such thing as too cold.

Unless perhaps you talked with a team of buddies from Southern California. Our bitter cold brought them their first shot at natural ice.

Forty percent of the teams are from outside Minnesota — including Australia, England, and even China. But for California’s Escondido Elites, it’s their first time playing on a frozen lake.

“The cracks, hope to manage those all right, but it’s great,” Escondido Elites’ Tom Glynn said.

It’s certainly more fun than inside an arena. On a crisp, calm sun drenched day, playing a game you love with the friends you share.

“It’s my first time to Minnesota,” Escondido Elites’ Mark Mortimer said. “I love it. I’ll be back for sure next year.”

Players say they were actually overdressed for the cold and had to remove a layer.

The pond hockey action continues through Sunday’s championship games.

Bill Hudson

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