As a heat wave pours into the state of hockey, is there a better way to cool down then entering a hockey rink? I went into Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna this week to catch an interview with the new Huskies' girls' hockey coach. The coolness of the rink felt good then and would feel even better on a 90+ degree day.

I was also treated to the enthusiastic efforts of the elementary-age skaters working on their skating and stick-handling skills. Soccer on ice is brilliant. The youngest of the players were working on footwork while trying to kick a soccer ball. OHS grad Soren Colstrup was working with the group, while high school coaches Josh Storm and Eric Fink led the slightly older group in stick drills.

New girls varsity coach Tony Cloud told me the high school-age players do a similar drill, playing a style of ultimate where they throw a volleyball around and have to come to a stop like the Frisbee game.

Open skating hours include Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29 from 2:30 - 4 pm. The Austin-Wilcox Rink is also open for skating Monday, July 1 and Wednesday, July 3 from 3:15 - 4:45 pm for open skate. See the full summer schedule here.

Early summer seems a good time for hockey-related news. Fox Sports North announced plans for 2020's Hockey Day Minnesota event this week. Parade Stadium in Minneapolis will host the January 16-18 activities which includes numerous outdoor hockey games featuring high school teams plus the University of Minnesota women's hockey squad.

The Minnesota Wild also used this week to announce their schedule for the 2019-2020 season. The preseason schedule begins September 17 with a game at Xcel Energy Center against the Dallas Stars. The regular season starts with road games at Nashville (October 3), Coloradio (October 5) and Winnipeg (October 10) before opening the home schedule October 12 against Pittsburgh.

The Wild then go on the road again for three more games. The team will have a home-heavy portion of the schedule from late December through early February when they play a stretch 18-out-of-23 at home.

Hopefully, a little hockey talk cooled you down a bit.