MASON CITY, Iowa - One week after the North Iowa Bulls closed out their last game at the Barn, Mason City youth hockey did Saturday, playing their final game at the North Iowa Ice Arena.
Since its opening in 1983, the North Iowa Ice Arena, also known by the 'old Barn', has seen fast-moving, hard-hitting hockey games over the nearly four decades it's been the home for the sport.
Left winger Zak Molstad first started skating when he was only 3 years old.
"My parents just moved here when I was 2 1/2-3. We got here, they saw the arena when as we were pulling in. The trials were that day, so we got there, just let me borrow some skates, threw on some regular gloves, and they were like, 'get out there.'"
He's proud to have been a part of the club's storied history and has his name on the Mohawk jersey.
"I'm thankful that I was able to play with my buddies. When we had all the past generations of Mohawks, it was touching. It made me feel good that I'm proud to be a Mohawk."
One moment in the Barn that will stick out to him - getting his first shot on the varsity team while playing for the 'I-35 Cup' in front of a packed house.
"I scored 2 goals and we ended up winning 6-3. That was my favorite time ever because everyone's here, everyone's cheering on and came out to support, great time, great spirits."
And he's also leading a new wave of players that are coming up in the ranks.
"Kellen...he'll come up next year, and a couple of these guys are coming up next year. We'll have a quite few more players, around 30-35."
Forward Niklas Howell has been playing since he was 6, and he too is feeling nostalgic about his playing career at the Barn.
"A lot of the games with the seniors we had my freshman year...a lot of those games are great memories."
And so are his family members.
"They've all watched me play here when I was a kid, so they know what it's like to watch me go out like this. I'm one of the lucky kids that gets to play here in this rink."
A final thought as they take to the ice for the final time?
"I hope that we come off with a good win, last game at the Barn for us. It'll obviously be emotional for us because this was where we grew up at. Looking for a fun game tonight."
"I'm really going to miss this place. I've been here pretty much my whole life. But its going to be really nice having that new arena, it looks really nice," Molstad adds.
Unlike most storybook endings, the hockey era at the old Barn ended with the Mohawks coming up short, as Des Moines both won the JV and varsity games, with the respective scores 3-0, and 9-3.
The Mohawks will officially begin their new era in the Downtown arena January 18th, and will face off against the Kansas City Jets.
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