11th Annual Pond Hockey Classic

Tournament Adds New Event

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With higher–than–average temps in January, the 11th Annual Great Lakes Pond Hockey Classic saw warmer weather than in the previous 10 years.

“The water is coming in and out of our tent. We got a lot of pumps going — trying to mitigate that,” said Jason Rauner, director of the Pond Hockey Classic.

But the games went on, bringing larger crowds than ever before.

“I guess it shouldn’t surprise me,” Rauner added. “The weather’s phenomenal, and when the weather’s nice, people aren’t afraid to come out.”

As for the rules, they are slightly different than arena hockey.

“There’s no lifting the puck. It’s not full contact,” explained Rauner.

This year, pond hockey saw a twist, adding pond curling to the event, which adds a level of difficulty.

“We try to make the ice as even as possible. But there’s still little dips and valleys and hills and troughs, so the rocks don’t always do what you want,” said Irvin Mossberger, director of Pond Curling.

The first-ever event attracted many local teams, and even those from as far as Maryland and Chicago.

For adults, the Pond Hockey Classic goes beyond the ice, bringing back childhood memories.

“When I grew up playing hockey, we’d shovel off the pond and we’d get down and all the local kids, we’d get home from school, grab the skates, head out to the pond and show back up at home about dinner time,” laughed Rauner. “And that brings it back for a lot of these guys. You’re not playing organized hockey inside some arena.”

Despite the warm temps, Mother Nature pulled through — making it a weekend well spent — celebrating the Great Outdoors. 

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