It’s time to lace them up at the Eagle River Sports Arena as the 15th annual Noontime Hockey League is ready to begin today, Wednesday, Oct. 10. 

While there were a few issues with leaking liquid under the floor when the compressors were turned on this fall, Michael Eder, the coordinator of Noontime Hockey, said Wednesday looks good for the first skate.

“We started Noontime Hockey approximately 15 years ago and it has been running strong ever since. We raised over $30,000 for Eagle River Recreation Association in that time,” said Eder.

Most of the skaters are age 50 or older, but there are always a few younger skaters that pick up the pace and make for very competitive games.

“We always try to make the teams as equal as possible,” said Eder. “Eagle River has always been a hotbed of hockey players and many of them are now 50, 60 or even in their 70s. We need to get more of these local older skaters out on the ice.”

Eder said the group is always willing to work with newer skaters and make them feel welcome.

“It is amazing how fast these older skaters find their legs and really have a lot of fun. It’s all about fun,” said Eder. “An hour goes by so fast that everyone is amazed at the degree of work out and fun.”

Female skaters also can join the group, according to Eder.

“We usually have a few women skaters, too, but would always welcome more,” he said.

“And goalies are really in demand — we need goalies more than anything. If we don’t have a goalie, we use targets that are very difficult to score on — it keeps the game very competitive,” said Eder.

 “So whether you are under 50 or over 70 we think you will love the workout. We also play friendly games with Iron River and Iron Mountain, Mich., both at their rinks and at ours in Eagle River,” said Eder. “Again, we try to make equal sides for these games so we mix all the players up.”

Eder said he is expecting a good turnout of players at Noontime Hockey, as it brings back hockey memories for many and offers the benefit of a workout.

“I hope to see all the ‘regulars’ and some new skaters this year,” said Eder.

The Eagle River group plays every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information, Eder can be reached at (715) 477-2945

“We started a similar program in Rhinelander last year and it has been growing. We skate at the Rhinelander Ice Arena on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it complements the Eagle River days. Rhinelanders plays at the same time and all skaters are welcome starting Tuesday, Oct. 23,” said Eder.

So if you played hockey years ago and still have the itch to lace ’em up, the Noontime Hockey League might be just right for you.