- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota ice arena managers are underlining the importance of monitoring air quality following two incidents of suspected carbon monoxide poisonings in Midwest ice arenas.

Dozens of hockey players and fans in North Dakota and Wisconsin became ill after spending time in two separate ice arenas over the weekend. More than 81 people were hospitalized in the second incident in Wisconsin Dells.

Minnesota is one of just three states that consistently monitor carbon monoxide levels in ice arenas, KARE-TV (https://kare11.tv/1DGxeL8 ) reported. Rhode Island and Massachusetts also have regulations in place to ensure the air quality at ice arenas is monitored.

In Minnesota, ice arenas are required to test air quality twice a week during the busiest times, said Craig Flor, president of the Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association. One of the tests must be conducted on the weekend, according to the state health department.

An electronic tester is used to measure levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Each rink is then required to record those levels and report them to the health department every quarter, Flor said.

“If we do have elevated levels we have to take corrective action right away,” said Flor, who is also the manager of Mariucci and Ridder Arenas.

When one of the potentially dangerous gases is detected at an ice arena, workers are required to ventilate the facility, and in some cases, evacuate the area.

Many arenas in the metro area have not used fuel-burning resurfacers since 2013, when stricter air quality standards took effect in Minnesota.

“A lot of rinks are going away from that and are totally electric,” Flor said.

Bloomington Ice Garden is one of the facilities that has completely eliminated fumes and exhaust by using electric ice resurfacers and rink edgers.


Information from: KARE-TV, https://www.kare11.com

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