Hazen, CO – Carbon monoxide levels were unusually high at a four-day hockey camp in Hazen, and though participants became ill, it is unclear if CO was the direct cause.

Eighty hockey players, ages 4 to 18 attended the Jeff Gustafson Memorial Summer Hockey Camp at the All-Seasons Arena Monday to Thursday.

Six Dickinson players began to feel ill Tuesday, parent Scott Karsky said. By Wednesday, three Dickinson players had vomited and Karsky eventually pulled them from camp, he said.

“There were people with some headaches,” Joe Amundson, Hazen winter sports director said. “We kind of thought that was strange on Tuesday night.”

By Wednesday, Amundson said the rink had complaints from parents, players and coaches.

“Wednesday morning we had some parents say, ‘Oh my child threw up on the way home and had a headache,’ so we at that point checked it for carbon monoxide,” Amundson said, adding the arena brought in Dakota Gasification Corp. to test the levels as the arena is not equipped to test for CO. Levels were elevated and the building was evacuated until DGC gave the OK, he said. Amundson attributed the high humidity in the arena to the high levels of CO. DGC refused to comment.

Amundson said the only sick players were from Dickinson.

“I’m sure it was CO because almost every kid had headaches,” Karsky said. “We had kids puking in my group.”

CO levels were approximately 100 parts per million prior to the Zamboni clearing the ice and following, levels were close to 200, Karsky said.

“So that was our problem, was the Zamboni,” Amundson said. “Precautions we are taking is we are adding ventilation. We are going to add some more fans as well as we are going to purchase a carbon monoxide detector as well.”

Ron Kleinsasser, a service department foreman with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. in Dickinson said a CO level at 200 PPM is unwise.

“That’s a bad thing. Real bad,” he said. “Anyone shouldn’t be in that level for very long periods of time anyway.”

Karsky said the Dickinson hockey arena has a CO detector equipped with an alarm whereas Hazen does not.

“I think somebody at the rink needs to be talked to because I don’t know how seriously they took it,” Karsky said. “Nobody got hurt this time, but it could be a really bad issue down the road.”

A spokesperson for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center, who would not give her name, confirmed Friday two minors were treated and released related to the incident.

Dr. Kamille Sherman, family practitioner at Dickinson Clinic Medcenter One, said symptoms for CO poisoning can be headache, dizziness, nausea, mild delirium and vomiting. Sherman said she has not encountered any CO poisoning cases this week.

Cory Portner, director of membership for USA Hockey, governing body for U.S. hockey based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said no national or federal laws regulate air quality in hockey arenas.

“It all becomes very state specific,” Portner said. “There are only three states that regulate this — Minnesota, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”

“We certainly encourage testing on a proactive level as opposed to reactive,” Portner said.