RINK RUMBLE: Savage puts family's pond hockey spot on ice - New York News

RINK RUMBLE: City of Savage puts family's pond hockey spot on ice

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SAVAGE, Minn. (KMSP) -

A different sort of hockey face off is underway in Savage, but the rink rumble isn't taking place at the center of the ice -- it's taking place at City Hall.

The Conrads say they have had their pond hockey rink for almost a decade, and they pay for it out of their own pockets; however, some neighbors worry about the impact it's having on the environment, and that is why the city is putting the rink on ice.

"I learned how to skate out here. This is where I learned to play hockey," Blake Conrad told Fox 9 News.

Each winter, Conrad and his father set up the rink to give the kids of the neighborhood a place to skate and practice. Now, the family feels like they're in the penalty box.

"It makes me angry," Conrad admitted. "It's been my life every winter."

The Conrads built the rink behind their home for the last 10 years, complete with lights and nets -- but neighbors complained that the rink is hurting the wildlife in the marsh.

"Duck, geese, turkeys, fox -- wildlife like crazy," Lori Shippy recalled. "We haven't seen much in the winters now."

Shippy and her husband moved next to the wetland a decade ago for the wildlife as well as the peace and quiet. They worry the noise of the pucks hitting the boards until 10 p.m. has scared the animals away, and they also worry that animals or people could get hurt there.

"Being that it is city land, I'm concerned about someone getting hurt out there," Shippy said. "If they do, it's my tax dollars paying for it, and I don't care for that idea."

The city of Savage said the wetland is on their property and has ordered the Conrads to remove it by Friday on the grounds that it violates a local ordinance.

The Conrads contend they never knew they were violating any laws, and after years without incident, they don't believe there's any harm in letting their rink skate by.

"It's the state of hockey and we're taking down a rink that is keeping kids off the streets and off drugs," Conrad said. "I think it's a great thing out here."

The city told Fox 9 News it's been working with the Conrads for the past couple of years after receiving its first complaint, but the family has until Friday to remove it or Conrad's father could face either a misdemeanor or a court order to dismantle it.

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