The National Hockey League has targeted January 1, 2021 as a start date. High school sports might begin practice on December 21. If not then, possibly January 4. With limitations at indoor venues for hosting fans, should Minnesota hockey teams schedule outdoor games?

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As I write this it's 43 degrees (Tuesday, December 8) with forecast highs in southern Minnesota near 50 for Wednesday and Thursday. But winter always rolls in eventually. Although an outdoor ice hockey season might still be short.

I asked Owatonna High School boys hockey coach Josh Storm and the possibility. He chuckled and said he wouldn't mind being invited to play an outdoor game. He indicated there are a few outdoor rinks in the Twin Cities that are refrigerated. Otherwise, ice conditions can become unpredictable by the middle of February. Hear Storm's interview as part of the AM 1390 KRFO High School Coaches Show Saturday morning at 9 am.

High School teams might not start until the middle to end of January, depending what the governor and health officials determine for youth sports. During the high school fall sports season, football and soccer games were allowed to have 250 spectators while volleyball was limited to two attendees per player.

The Star Tribune reported that several NHL teams are exploring the use of outdoor ice. Although their report indicated the Wild were not one of those teams. Minnesota was supposed to host the Winter Classic on January 1 at TCF Bank Stadium, but that has already been postponed.

Hockey Day Minnesota, which was to be staged in Mankato, is also postponed for this winter. The event includes a series of outdoor games featuring high school and youth teams.

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