MISSOULA — Ice hockey in the summer isnt normally an option in Missoula but this year if you need a place to cool down there is no better spot than a big sheet of ice.
Just make sure to bring a mask well besides the one on your helmet.
After being forced to close early rink officials decided to try opening a little earlier this year and people couldn’t be happier
"It feels great we get to play hockey again with our friends and have fun, it was weird because we were about to do spring hockey and then it got canceled. It's really nice we don’t have to stay home and just do boring stuff," said goalies Alex and Kaiden Mountain.
"It's nice to get that cold fresh air in glacier and get on the ice to train some kids so far its been fun," said Emerson Etem Missoula Bruins Coach.
To open the rink up during the pandemic some things had to change in the old barn.
"Mostly just getting the younger kids used to being in the locker room hanging out talking amongst each other with their masks on definitely something to get used to," said Etem.
It might take some getting used to but so far ice rink executive director Laura Henning has been impressed by everyone’s effort to follow the rules.
"It's actually worked out really nice I wasn’t sure how it would be received but people have been doing it. Everybody coming into the rink has been wearing masks," Henning said.
"The mask mandate came down and within an hour we had a youth hockey tournament and everyone came down wearing masks."
Besides masks cleaning procedures were increased around the rink with guidance from the Missoula City-County Health Department and the ice rink association.
"We have to clean every hour or half-hour people are on the ice and it's just doing it all the time you really just get it down to what to clean. And it's mainly just thinking about what people touch a lot or are around a lot that you need cleaned," explained Glacier Ice Rink employee Daniel Redfield.
"Just another part of the job I guess you just clean a lot more now so it's sanitary for everyone, so it's not really a big hassle I guess its just part of the job," said Redfield.
While the Western Montana Fair is not going to take place this year, 4-H is still doing their auction at the rink so the ice will come down for a little bit, and then it will be put back up after.
Ice sports communities across the country usually keep their rinks up for summer camps leaving Missoula area athletes at a disadvantage for training opportunities during the offseason.