Underwater hockey championships come to Minneapolisby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The best underwater hockey players in the country will descend on Minneapolis -- and then to the bottom of a pool -- this weekend for the sport's national championship games.
The 2009 USA Underwater Hockey Nationals Competition begins Friday morning and continues though the weekend at the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
The non-contact sport involves two teams of six swimmers moving a 3-pound puck along the bottom of the pool using a short stick, and as much air as their lungs can hold.
Players wear a diving mask, swim fins, a snorkel and headgear while facing off under six to eight feet of water.
In all, 23 teams from across the United States will be competing in three divisions. Competitors include men and women ranging in age from 15 to 65.
For fans watching from the bleachers, the underwater action will be filmed and projected on the Aquatic Center's Jumbotron screen at the pool.