Hockey players weren't going to let Mother Nature win their first ever pond hockey tournament at Center Street Park Friday.
This event was already cancelled once due to warmer temperatures, but as they say: The show must go on.
“This is where hockey was born outside, in the winter, in the elements, and there's just something special about it,” said Friends of Center Street Park President Dave Celata.
It's the first ever Center Street Hosers Mid-Winter Classic. There were five teams with one goal: play hockey.
“A lot of people are sitting at home on the couch. We're out here in a park, in the middle of the city,” described participant Brendan Doud. “It's a great time to be with our buddies and whatnot.”
And it’s all thanks to the Center Street Hosers. Due to an unseasonably warm winter, the volunteers had a difficult task working around the clock to make hockey happen.
“There are people sleeping here; there are people here until two, three in the morning going to work really tired to make this happen,” Celata explained. “More than anything it was just a small group of people that really wanted to do something for the park.”
“It's like a little bit of a hockey oasis right in the middle of the city so it's really cool to see this,” said Milwaukee Admirals President Jon Greenberg. “It's our 'Field of Dreams' going on out there.”
It's a dream come true for the Admirals, one of the sponsors of last Saturday's event
“This is a great first time event and to have it right in the city,” Greenberg added. “I think is just a great thing for us to be partnered with and I think that this has a chance to really grow into something special over the next few years.”
And that's just what organizers are hoping for.
“We would love to see 16, 32 teams out here and for this to become an institution in the community and a destination for hockey players all throughout Wisconsin and the metro area,” Celata said.
So even when it's 40 degrees in February and ice becomes slush, don't count hockey out. As Celata said, “There's just something about playing hockey outside that it's so much different.”
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