Thank You for a Successful 2017 U.S. Pond Hockey Championships

By Tom Sellwood

01/31/17

“I would take this over vacation on the beach any day.”

I overheard a player say this on Friday as he was heading to the ice. It was beautiful outside. After more than a week of above-freezing temperatures and some sketchy snow and rain leading up to the event, the sky over Lake Nokomis opened up to a rich cornflower blue, and the sun felt warmer than it had all winter.

The player was suited up, probably about to play in his team’s first game of the tournament. I hope they tallied the W. Or just drank Labatt between shifts.

When they’re at back on the daily grind, it won’t matter to them. What will matter is that they came. If you’ve been out to Pond, you know that it’s about the hockey, yes, but it also means so many different things to so many different people.

It’s an annual reunion for high school teammates. Or just way more fun than your night league games. Maybe it’s the only time you go outside in the winter. Or it’s the culmination of a year of training. For some, it’s an escape (via desperate, last-minute classified).

But for most, it is—far and away—the best weekend of winter.

We’d like to thank SportsEngine and NBCSports, WOW Factor Sports, The Recess Factory, the City of Minneapolis, the volunteers and referees, all of the players and spectators, the cooperative climate, and anyone else I may have missed.

The hard work you all put in behind the scenes is what makes this the best pond hockey tournament in the world.

To our sponsors: Thank you. This tournament would not be possible without you. Thanks to our title sponsor, Labatt Blue; our concessions sponsor, Hard Rock Café; all of our Hat Trick Sponsors; Goal Sponsors; and all other sponsors. We appreciate everything you do to make this a great event and hope you had a great weekend.

On that note, it’s only 358 until the 2018 U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. See you there.

…Come to think of it, I’d take it over a beach vacation too.