Despite Issues, Outdoor Hockey Gets Played

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

Saturday's UNO-North Dakota hockey game at TD Ameritrade Park slated to begin at 4:07 p.m. was delayed until 6:35 p.m. due to melting ice.

Bright sunshine and temperatures hovering near 50 degrees softened the surface during the afternoon game won by the Omaha Lancers 4-2 over the Lincoln Stars that began at 12:35 p.m.

The Fighting Sioux defeated the Mavericks in the nightcap 5-2. The opening face-off was delayed two-and-a-half hours because of poor ice conditions caused by the afternoon sun and the start of the second period was delayed because of a broken pipe that left a pool of coolant over the north goal crease.

The Metro bus Event Circulators that were to end service at 9 p.m. will continue running until 11 p.m.

The Mutual of Omaha "Battles on Ice" reached all the way to North Dakota. Last week, we showed you the temporary outdoor rink under construction. Earlier this week, the Mavericks were getting a feel for their new home ice.

Friday evening, North Dakota Sioux fans kept one eye on the game at the CenturyLink Center and the other on the outdoor ice next door. Sioux fans travel well no matter where the team skates. This weekend, Chris Spoors and Joe Johnson, like thousands of others, came to Omaha.

"Kind of follow the Sioux all around, we've been to Bemidji, we've been to Grand Forks, we've been to Duluth, we've been to all kinds of different stadiums," said Spoors. "We've seen everywhere they play."

This weekend, Sioux fans will get a kind of two-fer. In Omaha they’ll go to two stadiums for the travel time and expense to one. For Spoors and Johnson, the hockey doesn't end there. "We're really looking forward to it, we're going to go to both games, the Lancer game and the Sioux game to kind of take the experience in," said Johnson.

The Mavericks have been working out on the outdoor rink to get acclimated to the ice, but Sioux fans think their team is ready for the challenge. They're also excited about taking the game outside, like it was when they played as kids.

"It's kind of back to where hockey started from, being outdoors and being more raw and emotional, so I think it is kind of cool to see it outside and see it where it should be at, outside," said Spoors.

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