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Cottage Grove's Mike Post hits the ice in a recent boot hockey game at Park Place Bar and Grill in St. Paul Park. Hundreds of men and women from all over the metro area play in the league at Park Place.

Crushed ice: Boot hockey bar leagues gaining popularity

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Outside of Park Place Sports Bar it's about 10 degrees. Out back, on a small rink partially lit by neon beer signs, bundled-up men try to gain traction as they run across a sheet of ice.

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Steaming breath from the players' mouths rises in the air and mixes with cigarette smoke. Sticks slap the ice. A rock-hard ball ricochets off the boards. There aren't any water bottles behind the bench, just clear plastic cups filled with ice and stir sticks.

And everything is just right.

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