Outdoor Youth Hockey

Outdoor youth hockey

Squirt hockey teams competing at the Lower Chester rink  in 1988. Bob King/News Tribune

Outdoor hockey hasn’t changed much, except maybe it had more people playing outside because of the lack of indoor arenas. I grew up playing youth hockey on outdoor rinks. One time we played with temperatures below zero and the goalies were allowed to play in Sorel boots and when your playing shift ended on the ice, instead of crawling over the boards to sit in a snow bank, you skated to the warming house to warm up. Ahh, the good old days.

Skaters enjoying the new hockey rinks at the Woodland Community Club in Duluth in 1985. Joey McLeister / News Tribune

Two new outdoor rinks were built 26 years ago at the Woodland Community Club in 1984, so here’s a sample of those youth hockey days at various Duluth neighborhoods during the 1980s.

If anyone has any interesting outdoor hockey experiences, feel free to share them.

–Dave N.

Bob Piertz (left) and Scott Haugen round a cone during a skating drill for the Lester Park squirt C team in 1986. Dave Ballard / News Tribune

Bjorn Gangeness smooths out the ice at Congdon Park in 1990. Clara Wu/News Tribune

Todd Kuusisto is carried to his face-off against Keefe Ebmer by referee Roger Hellgren during a tournament game between Merritt and Piedmont in 1984. Joey McLeister/News Tribune

Kevin Walsh (left) and Ben Hubert enjoy a moment of glory for the Piedmont Heights Squirt Ds in 1985. John Rott/News Tribune

9 Responses

  1. Ted Fitz

    Does anyone remember a youth team back then called the Duluth Flames? I have an old jersey about Squirt size and I’m curious about where it camefrom and who the team was. It looks more like 1970’s vintage, but couldbe 1980’s. Winwell jersey felt stitched letters and numbers. Duluth Flames #13 with a captain’s “C”. It would be pretty cool to find out who it belonged to and just suprise them with it, especially if it meant something to them. I wish I still had my old sweaters from back then.

  2. bill

    I skated at longview through the sixties and seventies. I wil never forget the rink tender Sam Williams. If you needed anything, a quarter for the pop machine, your laces tied, skates sharpend he was always there to lend a hand.

  3. Portman Kid

    Skating at Portman was a right of childhood. Carrying skates and your stick to Lakeside school then down to the rink, giving Jim AKA “Augie” a hard time, but he was one of the nicest guys ever. We lived for Christmas break so you would show up before it opened, tying your skates in the team box, and then skating until the parents came to drive you home, or you just couldn’t feel anything anymore. Then do it again the next day.

  4. Tom R

    Great to see the old pics. Todd Kuusisto (named in a photo) is now one of Duluth’s finest doing a great job…

  5. Attic Fan

    So happy the Attic is back! But why is it more difficult to find than the other News-Trib blogs? It doesn’t come up on the page with the others when I clicked on Our Voices. Yes, I found it under Blogs after looking under Our Voices.

  6. PJ, Duluth

    Cathy! To and from the rink IN YOUR SKATES? I did the same thing at the Merritt Rink, about 8 blocks as well. Talk about your dull blades, huh? I could never get the laces tight enough unless someone at home tightened them for me, and then I’d walk to the rink. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought…

  7. Cathy

    I skated at Cobb, too. I don’t remember a hockey rink there, but the recreation rink was a popular spot in the ’60s. I walked to and from the rink in my skates – about eight blocks from home. Would kids walk to the rink today? Would their parents let them?

  8. Brian McKenna, Nevis Mn

    How about going back to the days we played at Cobb School, before the new rink was put in by the baseball field across from Hartley field off East Anoka Street? Charlie and Einer weren’t always the happiest rink custodians but they sure did a good job flooding the rinks and keeping the warming shack warm with that pot bellied stove. It was cool(no pun intended) to see the HS teams to play outside during Hockey DAy.

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