Hockey enthusiasts from across the country will be gathering at Lake Calhoun January 21-22 for the first U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, reports Kari VanDerVeen in the Southwest Journal.
The three-day tournament is expected to draw 128 teams, according to the event’s organizer, Fred Habeman. “I knew there was a lot of passion out there for pond hockey,” Haberman said. “But I was overwhelmed by the response.”
In addition to the 128 teams, each of which will pay a $300 entry fee, the event will feature exhibition games with former NHL, Olympic, and NCAA players. Event organizers will erect 25 rinks on the West side of Lake Calhoun for the tournament. A central rink will be surrounded by bleachers and lights.
Pond hockey is played with four skaters per team, but there are no goalies, no checking, no raising the puck, and no fighting. Goals can only be scored from inside the center line. Each team will be guaranteed three round-robin games, with the winner in each of the classes (open, women, senior men) taking home the Golden Shovel award.
With all this planning underway, Haberman is watching the weather reports closely and hoping for a cold snap that will thicken the Lake Calhoun ice sufficiently to handle all the activity. If our moderate winter continues into next weekend, it could force him to cancel the event.
“We’ll just have the water polo championships instead,” he said.