28 Jan The New England Pond Hockey Classic Returns for its 5th Annual Tournament
While some New Englanders dread the kind of cold winter we’ve been having this year, others delight in it, for low temperatures mean frozen lakes and ponds, and where there is ice, there will be hockey! Right now, crews from the New England Pond Hockey Classic are preparing rinks on the solid surface of Lake Winnipesaukee in anticipation of this weekend’s fifth annual tournament, which promises to be bigger and better than in previous years!
The first puck dropped on Meredith Bay for the New England Pond Hockey Classic in February of 2010, with 77 teams playing old-style hockey in pursuit of the coveted “WinnipeHockey Cup.” Since then the NEPHC has become one of the most sought after pond hockey tournaments in the country, with teams flying from all over North America to compete on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.
Now in its fifth year, Meredith, NH’s event of the season is fine-tuned and more popular than ever, with the event sold out at 223 teams that will compete in the 4 v 4 round-robin tournament on 22 classic rinks this coming weekend, January 31st – February 2nd, 2014. The organizers of the event are excited to bring a new feature to the game this year: pond hockey boards that will define the edges of each well-groomed rink.
“As a purveyor of the game of pond hockey, we continually look for ways to improve the tournament experience for our players” said Scott Crowder, PHC Commissioner, “With the addition of the plastic board system from NiceRinks, the level of play on the ice will dramatically improve.”
The weekend kicks off on Thursday, January 30th with a Welcome Party and Skills Competition on the ice in front of Lago at Bay Point, in conjunction with the tournament’s check in at The Flagship Ballroom at Chase House. Players from the Lakes Region Youth Hockey organization will be on site selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a heated VIP locker room for the tournament. Over the weekend, The Common Man will host a Concession & Labatt Blue Beer Garden in the Old Time Hockey Tournament Village, which also includes the Bauer Hockey Fan Zone as well as players’ locker room tents. A shuttle service will transport players and spectators to and from the event’s parking lots at Hart’s Turkey Farm, just a couple miles away from Tournament Village.
Pond hockey athletes are encouraged to bring their previously used equipment to donate to Restore Hockey, the tournament’s official non-profit sponsor. Restore Hockey cleans and restores the equipment and donates it to children, families, and organizations in need. Says Crowder, “All this stuff that would normally end up in a landfill is ending up on the ice… and a child gets a chance to fall in love with the game.” Restore Hockey also gladly accepts financial donations, which help the organization purchase new equipment for the community. The Pond Hockey Classic is proud to partner with this great organization.
The New England Pond Hockey Classic has quickly earned a reputation for providing players and fans alike with a traditional, nostalgic, and competitive pond hockey experience. For more information about the Pond Hockey Classic or Restore Hockey, please visit the PHC website here. Or to book your weekend in Meredith, call Mill Falls at the Lake at 800-622-6455. Good luck to the PHC teams!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team