Pond Hockey


For those of us who grew up in the great white north, over pronounced any word with an OU in it and ended sentences with “eh?”, this is how it started.  Sometimes it was a flat back yard that your Grandfather, Uncle or Dad would hose down.  Sometimes it was the local river, pond or lake.  If you were lucky enough to live near a park they would sometimes put up plywood boards to create the hockey rink with a warming hut that featured a coal burning pot bellied stove that would smell even worse when you put your black stick tape in it.  This is usually where you experienced your first frost bite.  I was one of those lucky ones.  My grandfather would lace up my skates at the house.  I could never get them tight enough.  I would skate 3 blocks on the shoulder of the road to the park rink.  After a few hours of pick up hockey, or “shinny” as we called it, I would skate back home take off my skates and grimace as my feet thawed out over the heat register.  Now that was a great day, no coaches, no drills, no referees and even better if it was snowing.  I didn’t skate on an indoor rink until I was about 10 years old.

I had a chance to relive that experience this a few weekends ago when I played in a Pond Hockey Tournament at Bow Mar.  The weather was nicer than I remember in Canada.  I was able to tie my own skates.  We had kegs of beer, Jagermeister and a Grill rink-side. There were no coaches, no drills, very few rules and no referees.

What a great weekend Eh?

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  1. We had two rinks. One for the regular skaters and one for the hockey players…..the warming house sold candy bars and provided music to skate by…..then of course lights
    at night. Everyone in town came. Some wearing their skates and others old enough to tie them tight……Shakopee, Minnesota.

  2. I have fond memories of skating outside when I was a kid. Sometimes it would be in the woods behind the my house that would fill up with water from the fall rains and never drain quick enough before winter set in. Slalom skate or “bumper” hockey were the games of choice. There was also a “pit” that the fire station would fill up with water in late November and they would let that freeze over for us to skate on,no warming hut like amenities for us, other than 30-40mph winds blowing off Lake Erie …how times have changed I can’t imagine a town taking on that liability anymore…those were better days….

  3. Ours was a lagoon on the other side of the river. When it was solid enough for the tractor to shovel the snow aside, everyone knew it was skating time. The warming hut had benches and a stove … and adult supervision. Many a high school romance on that lagoon…wonderful memories – Sheboygan Falls, WI

  4. Ours was Stern Park near downtown Littleton. I don’t think I’ve seen it frozen since I was a kid.

  5. That looks like a blast! Reminds me of my field hockey days..different sport but similar hockey culture…

  6. Reeds Lake… Grand Rapids, MI. Bub Rose used his tractor to shovel a nice sized rink… had a very simple burger, hotdog and popcorn shop where he put down rubber mats & benches in the winter, fired up the huge wood burning stove and they made THE best carmel corn in the world. It was where you went skating every weekend with your friends, family…. We also had a small homemade rink in the back yard…. my brother pulled me around on a flying saucer to flatten the snow and then ran the hose every night for a week til we had enough ice.

    The most amazing years were when there was a January melt… then a deep freeze and the whole lake was like glass and you could skate the whole thing, always watchful for zipping ice boats. It was wonderful.

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