Get ready for another busy weekend in the village—The New England Pond Hockey Classic will be held February 5th through the 7th and will bring together 77 teams from across the northeast to compete on seven rinks that are ready on the ice of Meredith Bay.
Pond hockey is a form of ice hockey that is a traditional winter game played by pick-up teams on a natural frozen body of water in northern towns. “It’s going to be a throwback experience, like going back in time to hockey’s roots, to the real basics. People have a lot of good memories of pond hockey and that’s really how the game was born,” said Scott Crowder, tournament director.
The 3-day tournament will accommodate adult teams in five different age divisions. Games will be played in a four-on-four, no goalie, round-robin format, with small, six-inch high goals. “That discourages slap shots and makes accuracy and passing a big part of the game,” Crowder said. There will be no referees, but instead a rink monitor who will ensure that the competitive spirit of the players stays in place.
The New England Pond Hockey Classic (NEPHC) has partnered with four non-profits: The Greater Meredith Program, Restore Hockey, Lakes Region Youth Hockey and the Special Olympics of NH. All will be present throughout the course of the weekend hoping to raise some money to benefit their missions. NEPHC will hold a silent auction and raffle in the Chase House Flagship Ballroom on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00, with all proceeds going to benefit the non-profit partners.
NEPHC is also planning two socials to take place in the Flagship Ballroom. On Friday evening, tournament participants and guests can be merry while watching the Hockey East game live on NESN, and at the Saturday night social, winners of the Silent Auction and Raffle will be announced. Both events will have a cash bar and light fare provided by the Common Man Restaurant.
“We have received a wonderful response from participants, sponsors, and volunteers alike,” says Crowder. “We currently have over 35 teams on a wait list for the tournament. We have over 60 volunteers and a number of wonderful sponsors on board to help make this event a great success in its first year.”
Crowder, the founder of Ekal Excursions LLC, which was formed to promote the Lakes Region lifestyle year-round, says, “I couldn’t be happier to call Lake Winnipesaukee and Meredith my home. Visitors during tournament weekend will truly feel like they have traveled back in time as they pull into the village with its charming character and old New England architecture and see a frozen lake filled with pond hockey rinks.”
Crowder says the New England Pond Hockey Classic is looking to run an event that will grow over the years and ultimately involve multiple locations around the lake for much larger tournaments. “It’s nice to provide this opportunity for pond hockey players from New England. We hope the Pond Hockey Classic will become an annual event for the players of this region for years to come.”
Can’t make it to the event? Thanks to InterLakes.TV, you can watch the 2010 New England Pond Hockey Classic from the comfort of your own home! Some videos will be pre-recorded and others will be streamed live from Lake Winnipesaukee. Please visit www.interlakes.tv to watch the action!
Pond Hockey Tournament in Maine: