US Pond Hockey Championships Begin in Mpls.

Updated: 01/18/2013 7:49 AM KSTP.com By: Mitch Pittman

Over the next few days, pond hockey players from across the country will be heading out on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.

The event is called the largest pond hockey tournament in the country. This year, by the numbers: 2,000 players; 300 teams; 46 states; 4 countries; 26 rinks; more than two miles of boards.

The competition touts itself as "the way hockey was meant to be played, outside in the elements." That will be especially true this year, when temperatures will range from 40 on Friday to near 0 on Sunday.

"This is going to be the most fickle year of weather," said 5 Eyewitness News meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas. "Friday's going to start out really mild, it could be in the 40's out here and then Sunday, it's going to be hard to do anything but play hockey because it will be so cold. It will be real hockey weather, with temperatures hardly a degree or two above zero."

Organizers say the ice is their best ever: smooth from lack of snow, and 15 inches thick. Plenty safe, they say, for all the spectators expected to come out. The puck drops at 8 each morning and games go until 6 at night. All parking and watching is free of charge. You can find more info on their website.