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Thousands head to freezing Adirondacks for annual Ice Bowl

By ANNA MEILER

INLET, N.Y. (WKTV) -- There's blood and sweat, but at the Adirondack Ice Bowl there aren't any tears.

"This is what we come out here for, the bruises. The cuts and bruises," said a hockey player sitting on the bench with a bloody lip.

Forty-four teams from around the country travel to the Adirondacks for two days of round robin face offs in the freezing cold.

"Lots of hockey, a lot of fun, a lot of cold weather," said Anthony Frankey.

Many of these skaters grew up playing hockey, some even professional. But this is a chance to have fun and bring the sport back to its roots.

"It's a lot of fun. I mean, it's a different kind of hockey," said Peter Montalbano, who traveled from New Jersey to watch his son play.

The weekend attracts more than 4,000 people. These are no fair-weather fans.

"Even the cold- it's just part of it. They come up here they want the Adirondack experience, they got it," said Nicole Sleczkowski, a first-timer from Connecticut.

"The hood is probably the key because it breaks the wind.  I have hand warmers in my feet to keep my toes warm and really good gloves," said Linda Merritt, who was watching her son.

For others, staying warm depends on how creative you are. Sleczkowski wrapped her 12-week-old puppy's paws with beer coozies and called them 'Labatt Booties.'

In the end, the winning team gets the bragging rights, but everyone leaves the Ice Bowl a champion.

"We used to be super competitive guys playing hockey growing up, but win or lose we drink the booze," said Ben Feahr, who grew up playing hockey locally in Clinton New York.

The tournament starts again at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning and there will be food, an ice bar and live music.

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