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Andrew Warhoftig, 10, has been playing hockey since he was 4 and actually likes the cold.
But he did learn the hard way that jackets are important.
"I forgot to bring my jacket once and my arms were pretty cold and my hands especially," he says.
Not that it compares to the 30 degrees below zero Celsius in which Andrew's coach, Stan Tugolukov, played hockey outdoors in his native Russia. There, the concern was frostbite. Here, it's important to focus on warming up sufficiently to avoid injuries.
To that end, Tugolukov guides the 16 members of his team in exercises that may include high knees, short sprints, sit-ups, push-ups and toe touches, followed by additional warm-ups on the ice.
"If your muscles are cold and not flexible, every time you exercise hard, you can pull a muscle or a joint," Tugolukov says.
Their additional advice:
Check your clothing: Make sure there aren't any holes that can let the cold air in. Start out with shorts and T-shirts for off-the-ice exercises so you don't overheat before getting on the ice.
Don't forget your jacket! Wear a long-sleeve athletic shirt under the padding to help in regulating body temperatures.
(Above: The Chicago Reserve One Homes Team takes on a four-man squad of skaters from Beaver Dam, Wis., in a pond hockey tournament in 2006.)
February 19, 2006