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Rich Mertz reaches out to thank Thomas Lund (right) and Aaron Hinnenkamp, who both work at Amsoil Arena in ice maintenance. Mertz was skating at the arena on Oct. 6 when he caught a skate blade to the jaw, cutting two arteries in his neck. Quick action by Lund and Hinnenkamp may have helped save his life. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

With skater's life at stake, Duluth arena workers came to rescue

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Thomas Lund and Aaron Hinnenkamp aren't just your ordinary Zamboni drivers. Quick action by the two Amsoil Arena ice maintenance workers might have helped save a life last week.

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Rich Mertz was taking his first skate of the year Oct. 6 with a group of friends who play pick-up hockey every Thursday at the arena when, about four minutes before their time was up, the 33-year-old got tangled up with a friend in what he calls "a total freak accident."

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