Quincy rink rats brave cold to skate on the Mississippi - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Quincy rink rats brave cold to skate on the Mississippi

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

When the temperature drops low enough in Quincy there is a group of dedicated hockey players that brave the cold to take their game outside. 

But with no official ice rink in the Gem City to speak of, these rink rats are forced to make their own on the frozen Mississippi River. 

So Saturday, as Quincy endured its fifteenth straight day of below-freezing temperatures, conditions were perfect to hit the river with a pair of skates. 

"When you have over three inches (of ice) you're fine to skate on it usually. We're probably skating on 10 to 12 inches which you could pretty much drive a car on," said Quincy native Eric Entrup. 

It is a winter tradition in the Gem City dating back generations and a tradition that these pucksters venture out on to the ice in the Quincy Bay to continue.

"My dad started me into it all," said Quincy hockey player Cooper Maas. "He showed me and I came down here and watched for a couple of years and then I started to like it." 

"This leads back to some of my earliest childhood memories, being back here," said Entrup.

"Because my grandpa and uncles and everybody all skated down here when I was younger. It was even more of a big deal than it is now." 

While 20 skaters can sometimes find their way into a pickup game on the river, these players, that travel from both sides of the river to play, want to see their small hockey community grow. 

"It's dismal but what is here is definitely thriving," said Entrup. "Everybody gets together and communicates well and it's always easy to get a game together."  

It is their hope that others will follow them y grabbing a pair of skates, a stick and hit the river. 

"People are always looking for something to do in the winter to get them out and some exercise," said Entrup.

"It's right here sitting right in front of you all the time." 

"We're just all hockey guys and we play for fun," said Maas. 

 

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