Cold snap gives Memphis hockey fans a rare chance to play outside

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Abnormally cold temperatures have been causing headaches for many in Memphis but for a few hockey lovers, it’s a frozen dream come true.

A pond at the Ducks Unlimited Wildlife Observation Tower at Shelby Farms has frozen over, making it a prime chance for hockey lovers like John Flood to get out and play.

“Never in Memphis, I never even thought that this would happen,”  Flood said.

Flood says his family even built a hockey rink outside their house this winter but says he’s just loving the experience.

“I think the best part is just getting together and playing hockey because all the people love playing the game but we never get it in Memphis,” Flood said. “So, we are all just excited to get outdoors and actually play around all this beautiful [ice].”

The pond does have a sign that says “DANGER KEEP OFF ICE” but Philadelphia native Austin Winder says that ice in the shallow end is 4 inches deep, enough to have skaters.

Winder, who moved to the Bluff City six years ago and plays at the Mid-South Ice House, says they are being careful on the ice.

“I think somewhere in the middle if you skate over it’ll start cracking, so you have to be careful. We are just staying in the shallow end and it’s really frozen solid,” Winder said.

Winder says getting to play with friends outside despite the choppy ice and grass patches is well worth it.

“I don’t know, this is a sort of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’ve never played outside before, especially here in the South,” Winder said.

Winder says he and other fans woke up at 5:30 a.m. to come out and play, which he says shows dedication.

Flood and Winder both agree that the best part is actually playing with people and having a good time.

“We’ll be skating around ’til we’re swimming,” Winder said.

(Photographer Ian Ripple contributed to this report.)