A heavy snowfall added to the challenge of a girls high school hockey matchup between South/Bartlett and Service/East at the rink outside Ben Boeke Ice Arena on Friday afternoon. South/Bartlett coach Tom Moore said he advised his players to keep it simple. “Push the puck in front of you and skate to it,” he said between periods. “Because you can’t stick-handle.”
Players embraced the task. Several laughed and smiled as they stood by warming bonfires near their benches and wiped frost from visors between shifts. Others had some hot chocolate after the second period while a Zamboni scraped away an inch of snow that had collected.
Service/East goalie Lenaya Braniff said it was hard to see the puck, hard to slide on her pads and easy to get cold during the game. But she said her team enjoyed the new environment.
“The girls let loose a little more and have more fun,” Braniff said.
Moore said his team will remember the experience just as he remembers playing outdoor games on the same rink during his younger years. He said he recalls his feet getting so cold that they felt like they were going to crack if they were hit by the puck.
“I tell these guys we didn’t have little benches back then. We stood in the snowbanks,” he said.