Rink rats enjoy the outdoors in Blooming Prairie
Give kids a day off school and what do they do on a balmy Monday afternoon? They go to the Blooming Prairie City Ice rink. That’s what.
“We had 40-50 kids at the rink on Sunday and the next day we nearly matched that figure,” said City Ice Rink Manager Jeremy Wangen.
The rink is located just one block south of Victory Field.
Wangen has managed the rink for the past three years. He’s often seen on the coldest of days, out flooding the hockey rink and also putting a sheet of ice on the basketball court adjacent to the city tennis courts.
“We opened the rink this winter just before it got cold,” Wangen said.
A few years ago, the city received a grant, which enabled it to provide ice skates and other gear for interested skaters free of charge. “We’ve been told that it costs $6 to rent skates for two hours at a rink in Owatonna,” Wangen said.
Those who use the rink also donate equipment.
Wangen still laces up the skates and bumps heads with some of his friends in the 30s age category. His son Cole, 9 and daughter Makinzie, 5 both play hockey in Owatonna. Wangen took son Cole to the Blooming Prairie rink early in the day on Sunday, then took him to hockey practice in Owatonna and back to Blooming Prairie for more ice time.
“He skated nine hours on this particular day,” his dad said.
On a day of no school, cousins Cole Wangen and Alec Wangen met at the rink for some fun and enjoyment. “We fight like brothers,” laughed Cole. Cole has the edge, however, being on skates longer than Alec.
Blooming Prairie High School junior Evan Doerhoefer works at the rink, logging about 15 hours a week. “I watch the kids so nobody gets hurt,” he said. He also skates on the hockey rink to keep an eye on all activities.
The BP warming house is open from 4-8:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 1-9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The rink is also open on days when school is not in session.
The Blooming Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its second annual broomball tournament on Feb. 13. Turkey bowling will also be featured.