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Students hit the ice

The air was bitterly cold and the pond was actually just the ice rink outside their front door but the students playing in Rosemount Middle School's second annual pond hockey tournament didn't seem to mind.

The tournament, a friendly competition among students, kicked off its second year after school Tuesday afternoon. Teams of five or six students squared off and competed to slip the puck into the low wooden boxes that served as goals.

About 12 teams -- more than 70 students -- signed up for this year's tournament. Teams will play a round robin this week and early next week and the top student team will square off against a team of teachers during a mid-day activity time next Wednesday.

"They have a lot to play for," said assistant principal Eric Hansen, who along with sixth grade teacher Chris Priebe played in some of Tuesday's games.

The tournament drew a good mix of students. Some had played together for years on youth hockey teams. Others were just learning to skate. Many were old friends. A few who signed up without a team of their own ended up playing with people they'd never met. Hansen said that chance to get to know new people is one of the tournament's appeals.

"There's a team out here that are new skaters," Hansen said. "We've got girls and boys, sixth to eighth grade. It's a good mix of kids."

Students who were not in a game ducked into the nearby warming house Tuesday afternoon, but on the ice players bundled in jackets and sweatshirts didn't seem to have much trouble keeping warm.

"It gives a chance to come out here and be active after school," Hansen said. "They come out here, they don't have to pay. Just come out and get an organized, unorganized game going. It's nice for kids to be able to do that. Sometimes we don't get enough of that."