With little more needed than sticks, a puck, and a frozen body of water, pond hockey is refreshing, nostalgic, and fun at every age.
They say this is the way hockey was meant to be played: outdoors, surrounded by nature, in all kinds of weather—the colder and snowier, the better—with the sounds of blades ksssh-kssshing on ice and the clack of pucks passing stick-to-stick in the frosty air.
In early winter across much of the Northeast and Upper Midwest, you’ll find people checking ice conditions on local ponds, lakes, creeks, and canals. It’s a time of great anticipation, because once that ice is thick enough, folks will be lacing up skates, grabbing sticks, and taking to those frozen waters for some good old-fashioned pond hockey.
It’s a sport that makes for a seriously good time. “You’re outside, you’re having fun. You’re usually laughing, maybe falling over. People are really just out there enjoying themselves,” says Steven Currie, 50, of Park City, Utah.
Currie has been playing pond hockey with the same group of guys for years. They even take an annual trip to play in pond hockey tournaments, which may range from an intimate affair to a weekend-long festival with hundreds of skaters and thousands of spectators. So far, they have competed in 10 different tourneys in seven states and Canada.
Ice hockey originated on the frozen ponds of Canada about 200 years ago, and pond hockey celebrates that heritage. “It’s sort of a throwback to the original game,” says Currie—and that’s a big part of its appeal.
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