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Breathe easy, hockey fans: Minnesota has toughest ice arena air quality rules


If you're a hockey fan and a little spooked by the recent mass carbon monoxide poisoning at an ice arena in the Wisconsin Dells area, don't worry – if you're visiting a Minnesota arena, that is.

In the aftermath of the poisoning incident, which occurred this past weekend at the Poppy Waterman Ice Rink in Lake Delton, Minnesota's arenas are renewing their call for consistent air quality testing. It's a habit the state's rinks are already in. Craig Flor, president of The Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association, says they are required to test twice a week during peak times, according to MPR.

Flor also manages two ice arenas, and told KARE 11 that rinks take swift "corrective action" if elevated levels of carbon monoxide are detected. Those actions include immediate ventilation of the building and evacuation, depending on the situation, the station reports. 

KARE 11 also notes that Minnesota is one of only three states with such rigorous testing guidelines, the other two being Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, the station adds that the two-times-a-week rule makes Minnesota's rules the strictest when it comes to air quality requirements. Those regulations took effect last year.

If that's not enough to convince you to head back to the stands without fear, Flor also told the station the fume-spewing ice resurfacing machines are gliding the way of the Dodo.

"A lot of rinks are going away from that and are totally electric," he remarked.

Fumes from a Zamboni were found to have been the culprit in the Lake Delton incident, where 81 people – including 21 Rochester Ice Hawks players – were sent to the hospital after exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

According to the city's fire chief, the resurfacing machine wasn't properly burning its propane fuel.

A great game won't keep hockey nuts from crossing state lines, of course, but they can breathe a little easier while they're in Minnesota's ice arenas.

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