Skating on matrimonial ice

by Jim Boyle

When the horn blows at the Elk River Ice Arena, it’s usually another goal for Elk River Elks varsity hockey team.

When it blew Oct. 6, Joshua Peterson and Katelyn Carlson had just been married and they were kissing passionately at the request of their minister.

Joshua Peterson and Katelyn Carlson outside Elk River Ice Arena grab a smooch that gets recorded by the wedding photographer. Photos by Eileen K. Photography

They became the first couple to marry on the ice at the Elk River Ice Arena, according to Rich Czech, the ice arena manager.

There was no “Canon in D” for a processional for this couple.  “We went all-out hockey,” Katelyn Carlson told the Star News this past week.

Joshua and Katelyn considered eloping but they decided to take Carlson’s parents up on their offer to throw them a wedding. The only wrinkle was they wanted something different than a traditional church wedding, so Katelyn’s father jokingly suggested they get married on the ice.

He might have been joking, but the bride and groom took the idea and ran with it. (Or shall I say, skated with it.) It made perfect sense to the Big Lake couple.

Kenneth Carlson Jr. escorts his daughter in for the wedding.

They grew up watching their dads on the ice playing and coaching.  Joshua played hockey, too, including his senior year in high school at  Long Prairie. He now skates in a men’s open hockey league at the Elk River Ice Arena.

Katelyn’s in the stands watching when he plays. As a young girl she skated on figure skates.

“Our families are fanatical about hockey,” Katelyn said as Joshua nodded in agreement.

Skating no walk in the park for beginners

The fact that most of the women in the bridal party had little or no experience skating was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the ceremony to work out.

The girls in the bridal party show off their skates.

One person in the bridal party grew up on Big Lake but had never been on skates until two weeks before the wedding. Another girl in the wedding party hadn’t skated since she was 7 or 8 years old. Another had been a figure skater, but  even at that it had been a decade since she had been on the ice. As for the flower girl, her first time on the ice was at the wedding rehearsal.

“It took about half an hour to get her to go on the ice, but once she did we couldn’t get her off,” Katelyn said.

The Rev. Lurie Alderink performed the wedding for the Petersons.

The Rev. Lurie Alderink agreed to wear a referee’s uniform if she didn’t have to lace up hockey skates. The couple agreed.

It was Katelyn’s father, Kenneth Carlson Jr., who escorted her onto the ice and handed her off to the groom to the The Vitamin String Quartette’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.’”

“He was our wedding planner as far as all the hockey stuff went,” Katelyn said.

The processional music for the attendants  was Lamont Cranston Band’s “Upper Mississippi Shakedown.”

Joshua, a carpenter by trade who served a 400-day deployment in Iraq doing carpentry and masonry, made a stand for the unity candle out of brand new CCM hockey sticks.

Best man Michael Carlson and maid of honor Jessica Alfano skate
out with flower girl Victoria Alfano-Holz.

“The wedding turned out great,” he said.

The couple live in Big Lake, and they plan to move within the year after he extends his time in the Army National Guard. The Iraqi Freedom veteran spent most of 2007 and 2008 in Iraq as a guardsman, and he suspects his next stint with the Guard will likely take the couple somewhere warmer.

Eventually, they figure they will make their way back to Minnesota for its lakes, rivers and hockey rinks. Their hearts will be forever connected to the Elk River Ice Arena.

The wedding party from left to right: Jared Reichstadt, Autumn Handke, Cassondra Tews, Kayla Anderson, Jessica Alfano, Katelyn and Joshua Peterson, flower girl Victoria Alfano-Holz, Michael Carlson, Colten Carlson, Scott Maxfield, Josiah Handke, Kyle Reichstadt and Jacob Kervin.