It’s time to lace them up at the Eagle River Sports Arena as the 17th annual Noontime Hockey League kicked off this week, according to Michael Eder, the coordinator of Noontime Hockey.

“We started Noontime Hockey more than 15 years ago and it has been running strong ever since. We raised over $30,000 for the 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 workout and fun.”

Female skaters can also 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 other organizations, 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. He said precautions will be taken to safeguard against coronavirus as much as possible.

“We recommend skaters put on as much equipment as possible at home and just put on their skates at the rink. We also recommend showering at home after skating,” said Eder.

The Eagle River group plays every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the locker room open at 11:30 a.m. and then skating from noon until 1 p.m. There is a weekly daily fee of $8 to play. There is no cost for goalies.

For more information, Eder can be reached at (715) 477-2945 or at michaelederhockey@gmail.com. Noontime Hockey also has a Facebook page.

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.