By Norman Seawright III

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — LumberYard Hockey & Sports Center was prepared to open on May 4, until Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz extended stay at home orders.

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“We’re in the state of hockey, right? For a month, I’ve been getting calls every day,” said Lee Erickson, LumberYard director of hockey. “When? When can we get in? Let us in. Let us play.”

The company launched a poll to gauge customer interest in opening the Stillwater hockey rink.

“I had to tell them, well, it was sixty-forty yes, but maybe that’s not enough,” Erickson said.

LumberYard management and ownership considered guidelines for safe reopening despite the order—including requiring youth players to arrive at the rink, dressed, no more than ten minutes before games, and leaving no later than ten minutes after a game concludes, while extending bench areas and limiting adults to one supervisor per child.

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(credit: CBS)

“I won’t kid anybody, players will probably be within six feet of each other,” said business owner Bob Kaufman. “But our leagues by rule are no contact. No checking.”

All LumberYard wants is a choice.

“I believe that people should be able to make their choice and if somebody doesn’t feel comfortable because they’re going to put themselves or their family at risk, then that’s okay,” Kaufman said.

“We hear in the press conferences, ‘we trust Minnesotans. You’re doing the right thing,'” Erickson added. “Well, believe us, we are. We can open our business and still do the right thing.”

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Norman Seawright III