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Steel players sent home, but optimistic season will resume

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110620 Steel Kenai River Hockey

CHIPPEWA FALLS (WQOW) - Ian Famulak woke up Friday to a series of text messages.

The Chippewa Steel hockey season had been paused, and players were being sent home.

"It was kind of crazy to be honest," Famulak said.

Now home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the third-year Steel forward is one of dozens of North American Hockey League players waiting for word of a restart.

The Steel announced Tuesday it would not play another game until December 31 at the earliest due to scheduling complications. Three teams in the Midwest Division are based in Minnesota, where the most recent public health order is preventing NAHL teams from playing or practicing.

Famulak said rinks in Grand Rapids are closed through December 8, so he will need to find other ways to stay in shape.

"Basically all I'm doing is working out, going to the gym, running, staying in shape as well as I can," he said.

Steel head coach Carter Foguth said his players have had great attitudes as the season suffers another setback.

"They understand the times that we're in," he said. "They're definitely optimistic that we can get back and continue the season later on."

The Steel (1-3) has played four games, all at Chippewa Area Ice Arena against Kenai River against Kenai River. Famulak said the team's record does not show how well it has played.

"That last game we played, once we started scoring goals, shows how well we play as a team and how exciting the rest of the season should be for us," he said. "I think this team has a lot of good things we can carry throughout the year and hopefully win a championship."
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Nick Tabbert

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