Posted on January 25th, 2013 No comments
Although an unusually warm winter last year forced the Lakes Region’s event of the season to relocate to a smaller lake due to safety concerns about the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee, this year there is no doubt that the New England Pond Hockey Classic can take place as scheduled on the big lake, and Meredith Bay is already buzzing with activity as the organizers prepare the rinks that will host the region’s biggest pond hockey tournament!
The Pond Hockey Classic has quickly earned a reputation for providing players and fans alike with a traditional, nostalgic, and competitive pond hockey experience. Now in its fourth year, the tournament is fine-tuned and more popular than ever, with the event sold out at 200 teams that will compete for the coveted “WinnipeHockey Cup” on 21 classic rinks next weekend, February 1st – 3rd, 2013. Players will be traveling to quaint Meredith Village from as far away as California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, and various parts of Canada to participate in the 4 v 4 round-robin tournament. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on March 16th, 2012 No comments
This winter has been extremely mild, and the thickness of the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee was questionable for much of the season. In fact, the annual Pond Hockey Classic moved to Lake Waukewan, a smaller nearby lake, due to concerns about the safety of the ice for the hundreds of people that would be on the lake at once. The big question on everyone’s mind now is, will the milder temperatures this winter bring a record-breaking early “ice-out” this spring?
“Ice-Out” on Lake Winnipesaukee occurs when the ice that has covered the lake all winter melts enough to allow the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship to navigate to all of its stops in Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith, and Wolfeboro. As the traditional, unofficial start of the spring season, this event is greatly anticipated by locals and visitors alike. Many Islanders regain water access to their cottages, and boaters are free to explore the lake. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 27th, 2012 4 comments
The event of the season has quickly earned a reputation for providing players and fans alike with a traditional, nostalgic, and truly competitive pond hockey experience. The first two years saw quaint Meredith Village on Lake Winnipesaukee bustling with activity as hockey lovers from all over New England and beyond converged on this normally quiet winter wonderland. This year will be bigger and better than ever—even though the event will be held on a different lake—and will be the focus of attention from a national organization documenting the environmentally sustainable practices of the sport.
The New England Pond Hockey Classic will still take place in Meredith, NH February 3rd – 5th, 2012, but while the games were scheduled to take place on Lake Winnipesaukee again this year, the warm winter has prevented Meredith Bay from freezing to a safe enough level to accommodate the expected crowds. The organizers have now officially decided to move the event to nearby Lake Waukewan, just a quarter-mile away on the other side of Meredith. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on December 16th, 2011 No comments
State tourism officials announced this week that winter travel in New Hampshire is expected to show increased amounts of visitors and spending, providing a positive outlook for the 2011 – 2012 season. This is good news, especially considering that the tourism industry across the Northeast took a big hit at the end of summer when Hurricane Irene passed through.
According to a report prepared for the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD) by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies (INHS), an estimated 6.6 million people are predicted to visit during this year’s winter season, up by three percent from last year. Spending by tourists and business travelers is expected to increase as well, with the projection being seven percent above last winter, possibly reaching about $850 million. Studies show that December, January, and February see approximately 18 percent of all traveler visits and 20 percent of total traveler spending annually.
The big draw in the wintertime is New Hampshire’s abundance of wilderness and skiing, as well as tax-free shopping. “Outdoor recreation, including skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, and shopping are the most popular reasons for visiting New Hampshire during the winter,” said Lori Harnois, Director for DTTD. “While here, visitors can check out zip-lines, mountain coasters, dog-sledding, and other winter fun.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 18th, 2011 2 comments
The second annual New England Pond Hockey Classic is about to take over Meredith Bay, and this year the tournament will be even bigger and better! The organization’s first ever event last year was so successful, it’s grown to accommodate over twice as many teams and rinks out on the frozen waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, as well as a couple of new tournaments in New England.
“The response we had last year was amazing,” says PHC director Scott Crowder. “That our first year went as well as it did was pretty great on our end. So we obviously wanted to bring it back and we actually expanded it, so we have two more tournaments this year, one on Lake Champlain in Colchester VT and one with the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester. The tournament here in Meredith is going to have over 160 teams, and we’ll have 15 to 16 rinks out on the lake, so that’s close to 1000 participants.”
As a new feature this year, the player locker room tents will be out on the ice so the athletes can skate in and skate out. Another fun addition will be the beer garden that The Common Man is doing right in front of Lago. “We’re doing a little Fan Zone with some hockey skills competition, and things like that,” says Crowder. “It’s really turning into more of a carnival! We’re going to have the ReMax hot air balloon giving rides, we’ll do helicopter rides again, which is what we did last year, the Greater Meredith Program is doing a chili cook-off on Saturday afternoon… to have something that’s a nice outdoor activity that people can enjoy in the middle of winter is a nice treat.”
Last February, 77 teams from throughout the region competed over a three day weekend on Lake Winnipesaukee. The event brought many athletes and fans to Meredith and earned PHC the 2010 Lakes Region Association Tourism Award. “We’ve had a great response from local businesses this year,” says Crowder. “We have a lot of local sponsors on board, and you can find them all on our website. To have the support of the local businesses is great.”
The official outfitter and sponsor of this year’s event is Earthtec, a Portsmouth, NH based company that makes eco-friendly apparel. Says Crowder, “They’re absolutely amazing. The CEO of Earthtec actually played in the tournament last year… they’re our official apparel for all of our events. They make all of their stuff out of recycled materials or organic cotton and wool, so their products are top-notch, top of the line.” All tournament participants will have the opportunity to buy official merchandise provided by Earthtec, and each participant will receive a free Earthtec Pond Hockey Classic winter hat.
With Earthtec, PHC is launching Pond Hockey Classic Green, “to do our part to curb our environmental impact,” says Crowder. “If this Earth keeps heating up we’re not going to have any ice to do these tournaments on.” PHC is also partnering with Athletes for a Fit Planet, a company that greens events by working with organizers to reduce their event’s environmental footprint with consulting services and sustainability practices, such as the opportunity for all PHC participants to buy carbon offsets to counteract their travel to and from the event. All registration is taking place online, so there are no paper forms to mail, store, and dispose of later.
Pond hockey athletes are also encouraged to bring their previously used equipment to donate to Restore Hockey, the tournament’s official non-profit partner. Restore Hockey recycles the equipment and donates it back to children who don’t have the ability to play the sport due to the financial burden.
Crowder hopes that after the big weekend, local folks will continue to use and enjoy some of the rinks that they are creating. “That’s what happened last year, which was great. I drove by a couple weeks after and I had never seen kids skating out there, and all of a sudden there were families out there on Saturday and Sunday afternoon that were using the rinks because we made them, so hopefully this event can urge people to play some hockey in the Lakes Region, because I don’t think it’s as big a sport as it really could be.”
The 2nd Annual Pond Hockey Classic Tournament will take place February 4th through 6th, 2011, in Meredith, NH. For those who can’t make it to see all the excitement in person, the event will be broadcast on the official website, pondhockeyclassic.tv, where viewers can watch live streaming action as well as replays of past games. Mark your calendars, and don’t forget to check in!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team
Images courtesy of Pond Hockey Classic
Posted on February 21st, 2010 3 comments
“It was our first year, and we couldn’t have asked for a better response,” said Scott Crowder, organizer of the New England Pond Hockey Classic (NEPHC), “From the participants, to the sponsors, to the town of Meredith — and obviously the weather… the entire weekend went off without a hitch.”
Nearly 500 players and 77 teams turned out for the first annual NEPHC tournament on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, NH on the weekend of February 5th – 7th. With “baby blue skies and beautiful sunshine,” five divisions competed on 7 rinks simultaneously over the course of the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, five teams raised Lake WinnipeHockey’s Cup above their heads: in the Open Division – The Paddy’s from Lexington, MA, in the 30+ Division – The Frozen Hacks from Franklin, MA, in the 40+ Division – The Bumbles from Alton, NH, in the Legends Division – The Bud Heavies from Newburyport, MA, and in the Just for Fun Division – Montreal Todd from Woburn, MA.
“As this event goes forward, we would like to start expanding by at least being able to accommodate the 40 additional teams we had to wait-list this year,” said Crowder. “That would already bring us up to 120 teams, which, for only being in our second year of operation, would be incredible.” Crowder also has plans to add a women’s division to next year’s event. He estimates that there will be 12 – 13 rinks on the bay, and close to another 500 participants coming to the area for the weekend of February 4th – 6th, 2011. Crowder said he would like to have a youth tournament, as well, adding, “If we could get more kids out there playing, they’re going to fall in love with the sport of hockey.”
Since the tournament, Crowder has been receiving e-mails from folks in Meredith saying how nice it is to drive by the rinks and see people out there using them. “They said that for whatever reason before, kids wouldn’t go out on the lake and skate,” said Crowder. “Hopefully this will help the community and all the kids, have them start to play hockey, cause it’s such a fun sport.”
The purpose of the event was to “bring hockey back to the basics,” Crowder said. “The competition was very healthy, we didn’t have any fights, or anything of that nature. Everyone was able to have a good time. It was nice to see something that we put together help out the local businesses and give the hockey community of the region something to come out for. That was extremely positive.”
Crowder is “very thankful for the town of Meredith… for all of our sponsors—they were huge in helping us pull this off. Also the volunteers – a special thanks to them.” He says that next year’s tournament is going to be even bigger, and they will definitely need more “passionate volunteers, the people who want to come out and have some fun helping us out.”
So mark your calendars for next year, and hopefully we’ll see you out on the ice!
Posted on January 28th, 2010 2 comments
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: