At Odds Over Pond Hockey: Group of Millbrook Families Come Together to Clean Up ‘Sabotaged’ Neighborhood Skating Rink

Outdoor pond hockey is a Minnesota tradition.

Shoveling off the neighborhood pond, lacing up the skates and burning off cooped up winter energy on the rink with friends goes back decades in the frozen tundra.

For a few years now, families in the Millbrook neighborhood have shoveled off Millbrook Pond for figure skating and neighborhood games of hockey, but partaking in this Minnesota past time has come with struggle.

“Today we were sad to see that somebody had tried to sabotage the rink by throwing a bunch of sand on the ice,” Millbrook resident Larry Odebrecht said.

Millbrook Pond skating rink. (Photo by Larry Odebrecht via Pictures of Stillwater)

Millbrook Pond skating rink. (Photo by Larry Odebrecht via Pictures of Stillwater)

He posted this photo to the Pictures of Stillwater Facebook group on Wednesday morning, more than 130 shares, dozens of comments and action from a bunch of neighborhood dads, the ice has been cleaned off, the pond has been flooded and the neighborhood rink is back in action.

A couple years ago, kids skating on the frozen pond was brought to the homeowners association, because association bylaws stated the pond couldn’t be used recreationally.

“At the time, it was like Watergate in our neighborhood, only more controversial and with more anger,” Odebrecht said.

The challenge caused a group of neighborhood families to hire an attorney to rewrite the neighborhood association’s bylaws to allow people to skate on the ice.

Last year, the neighborhood association voted to change the bylaws, allowing recreational activity on the holding pond.

Neighborhood kids have enjoyed skating on the pond ever since.

But one Millbrook resident who lives along the pond told WCCO that he’s concerned that city water used to flood the rink is hurting wildlife, and he has safety concerns about kids playing on the frozen pond.

“It’s just wrong,” Jeff Cameron told WCCO. “It’s a couple of people doing whatever they want. There is no respect for the wildlife. There’s no respect for anyone’s privacy.”

Cameron wouldn’t comment to WCCO about if he knew who put sand on the ice Wednesday morning, but said he has contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regarding his concerns.

“I think the most important thing about this is that the sabotage attempt backfired,” Odebrecht said. “It’s great to see all the neighbors getting together on the ice and sweeping everything up.”

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