20 for 20: Rink of Dreams (2003)
To celebrate our 20th anniversary of Lakeland News, we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable local stories we’ve covered over the years. We’re calling it 20 for 20: twenty stories in all, one for each of the twenty years we have been on the air with Lakeland News.
Tonight, we flashback to the year 2003 and bring you a feature on a real life rink of dreams in Bemidji. In 2001, Bryan and Kris Hammitt converted their backyard into a hockey rink for the entire neighborhood, serving players both young and young at heart.
That rink of dreams is still going strong today. This winter will be the Hammitt’s 17th year with the rink; a log cabin warming shack with a sauna was added in 2011. Several of the neighborhood boys have gone on to play for the Bemidji Lumberjacks, including two of the Hammitt boys. Tanner just graduated from Bemidji High and played two years on the varsity, and Tate will be a sophomore next year and was a starting defenseman last year as a freshman. One more could be on the way: 8-year-old Trent was not born when our story initially aired, but is now a 3rd year mite.
The Hammitts continue to host many outdoor skating gatherings for friends and family and has been informed it is likely their backyard rink will be featured during this winter’s Hockey Day Minnesota broadcast from Bemidji.