- Posted January 20, 2011 by
Prince George, British Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Wintry weather near you
Should the NHL be Nervous?
US Pond Hockey Championship -- the nation's largest outdoor pond hockey tournament. is being held January 21-23, 2011, Lake Nokomis, Minnesota.
Even though the first records of a game known as "hockey" was in the 1700s, it wasn't until 1875 that the first organized indoor game was played. It's a sport traditionally played on lakes or home-made backyard rinks with packed snow around the edges serving as the ‘boards.’ The first hockey "world championship" was outdoors in Montreal in 1883.
In 1892, Lord Stanley (then Governor General of Canada) donated the first Stanley Cup as a tribute to his favorite sport. Back then, it was simply an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. It was only later that it evolved into today's iconic symbol of North American hockey achievement. In fact, for more than 20 years, Stanley Cup games were ALWAYS played outdoors.
Some 80 years ago, Alex Antoine, a "star" amateur pond hockey player drew serious NHL attention, being offered a position with the New York Rangers but declined instead preferring to play offcial Pond Hockey.
Before multi-million dollar contracts, player lockouts and nationwide game broadcasts, hockey was so much simpler. A few guys passing the puck on a cleared patch of ice on a lake, driven by nothing more than a pure-hearted passion for the game they'd grown up playing. This is the game -- and the moment -- that pond hockey brings back to the game's most genuine fans.
The most important tactic to possess in pond hockey is good passing, because incomplete passes can result in losing pucks in the surrounding snow. Most of the game consists of open ice puck handling, therefore this is another reason why hand eye coordination is crucial. Speed is also an important ingredient that makes a good pond hockey player. There are no goalies in pond hockey which almost guarantee's goals on break away streaks. To be a skilled pond hockey player one does not necessarily need to have a good shot, because the goal is barely taller than the height of the puck the player just has to be accurate in guiding the puck close to goal. In pond hockey, a good player does not specialize in offense or defense. Teamwork becomes important, because the lack of a goalie everyone has to work together to make sure the other team does not get an easy goal. Playing intelligently becomes key, because if a player makes a bad pass or slips over an opponent, the opponent will have an easy attempt at a goal.