Woodland Park hockey set to host Dakota Ridge outdoors in program's first true home game

Woodland Park's hockey team is in its first varsity season, and while they've played "home" games so far this season, nothing has actually been at their home rink.

That's because the Panthers' home ice, at the Meadow Wood Sports Complex in Woodland Park, is an outdoor facility. According to CHSAA policy, teams can play one outdoor game per season — and Woodland Park's game is Wednesday night against Dakota Ridge.

It will be the first true home game in the program's history. With a 6:15 p.m. start, it will be played under the lights.

"The kids are excited," said Woodland Park athletic director Michael DeWall. And though many students remain on holiday break, "This one has been on the calendar for some time," DeWall added, so the turnout should be good.

The complex doesn't have an ice-maker. The process for making ice is entirely natural.

"It's completely done by mother nature," DeWall said.

Volunteers started making ice in mid-December. It was a process of wait-and-freeze.

The team has been practicing at the rink as soon as the ice was finished, but most of those slots have been the latest available, making for a cold workout.

Fortunately, the high in Woodland Park is 47 degrees on Wednesday, and is forecast to be 35 degrees at puck drop.

Dakota Ridge, No. 6 in the latest hockey rankings, enters at 3-2-0 this season. Woodland Park is 0-6-0 so far in its inaugural season.