Skip to main content

Update: Faulty ice resurfacer cause of carbon monoxide illness at Wisconsin rink

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A propane-fueled ice resurfacing machine has been pinpointed as the cause of carbon monoxide that sickened dozens of players and spectators at an ice rink in the Wisconsin Dells area over the weekend.

“It wasn’t fully combusting the propane,” said Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson, according to the Star Tribune, adding that the ventilation system in the rink was not clearing out the bad air.

At least 81 people, including 21 Rochester Ice Hawks players, were treated for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after a hockey game at the Poppy Waterman Ice Rink in Lake Delton, Wisconsin.

Several players reported having headaches, dizziness and nausea after the junior league game between the Dells Ducks and the Ice Hawks, according to Several players vomited and one person reportedly fainted.

Paramedics were called to the scene and took players to area hospitals. The Lake Delton Fire Department responded to the arena and found high levels of carbon monoxide, reports say.

Many spectators had left the rink before the leak was discovered, so law enforcement officials and team officials contacted them, urging them to get medical treatment, the Rochester Post Bulletin says. Those with flu-like symptoms were transported to the hospital, FOX 6 reports.

According to a post in the Ice Hawks Facebook group, most of the players were discharged from the hospital by early Sunday morning and one Ducks player was airlifted to a Milwaukee-area hospital for further treatment.

The Minnesota Junior Hockey League said on its website that one Ducks player remains in the hospital. He's receiving oxygen therapy in a hyperbaric chamber.

Doctors told at least one Ice Hawks player to seek further treatment at the Mayo Clinic, the Rochester Post Bulletin says.

The rink canceled all activities for Sunday and Monday, including the Ice Hawks game that was scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.

The machine suspected to be the cause will be inspected Monday, as will the rink's other resurfacer, according to the Star Tribune. Both machines were inspected within the past few months and passed, Jorgenson said.

The rink is not required to have a carbon monoxide detector in the building, he said.

The Star Tribune says carbon monoxide emissions have been a concern at hockey rinks for years, with many blaming ice-resurfacing equipment. The newspaper notes several instances where hockey players have fallen ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning, including a few weeks ago Ottawa, which sent 16 players to the hospital.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 4.48.45 PM

Bloomington PD announce what's likely 'largest fentanyl bust in Midwest'

The case is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Sept. 27

This week's report represents data collected Sept. 21-27.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.56.10 PM

MN health officials warn of potential for measles outbreak amid rise in cases

A recent case among a child with no travel history is prompting heightened concern.

skid steer

Four-year-old boy dies in accident on western Wisconsin farm

The boy was struck by a skid steer, according to police.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.41.51 PM

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge hits the market for $6M

The restaurant will remain open while the property is on the market.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 12.27.48 PM

Apartments, brewery proposed for site of former Minneapolis lumberyard

The developer is proposing two buildings connected via skyway.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 1.27.38 PM

'Exceptionally rare' meteorite impact crater found in the Twin Cities metro

Had it struck in today's world, much of the Twin Cities would've been wiped out.

Grand Old Day

Organizers seeking ideas for 'reimagining' of Grand Old Day

A task force is set to begin meeting next month to reimagine the event.


Eveleth man gets 11 years for selling woman fentanyl that led to fatal OD

Torisa Sulvoris Wallace, 39, was sentenced to 134 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Virginia Thursday.


High carbon monoxide levels shuts down Duluth ice arena

Fire officials in Duluth are investigating to find out what led to "dangerously high" carbon monoxide levels at Duluth ice arena Wednesday night. About 30 people were evacuated from Fryberger Arena and eight people had elevated levels of carbon monoxide. One person was hospitalized.