Up North: Piedmont ice rink preparing for skaters

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With the temperatures dropping drastically the last few days it’s that time here in the Northland where outdoor hockey rinks start popping up.

Since the end of Thanksgiving fire hoses have been heard late into the night at Piedmont Park.

Not to put out a blaze, but to start freezing the ice sheet, all organized by the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association (DAHA)

“Folks will be down here seven days a week maintaining the ice, maintaining the equipment, the property. Concession stands will be open, sledding hills are open. We’ve got about 750 hours of labor to get to the ice where we’re at so far,” said Piedmont Facility Director Brian Houck.

This project along with others that DAHA takes on is all volunteer lead. With funding coming from fund raisers, golf scrambles and donations from local families during the warmer months.

“It’s all volunteer so a lot of time away from home. But when you come down here and see the kids smiling faces playing hockey the night before Christmas or when they’re out of school, it’s a lot of fun,” added Houck.

Weather dependent the ice usually takes 2-3 weeks to be able to hold skaters. However the pride the workers have about the ice at Piedmont is apparent.

“People are all over looking for the best ice in town. We really strive to have great ice here. So it’s really fun to see kids of all walks out here enjoying the entertainment that takes a lot of effort to put on,” continued Houck.

Even if using a stick and puck isn’t your forte, there is a free skate rink here just for you.

“We maintain that pleasure rink just the same as we maintain the hockey rinks. You know, we keep it nice and smooth, clear of snow and it’s always open. No pucks, no sticks just kids that want to skate,” concluded Houck.

The rink will be opening towards the middle of the month, with the lights set to stay on every night till 10:00 p.m.