3 February 2015 | Posted By: Victoria Weiss
This past weekend, 250 teams took to the ice in Meredith, NH for the 6th Annual New England Pond Hockey Classic. Teams from all across North America and Canada battled over three days to become the champions and earn their initials on the coveted Lake WinnipeHockey Cup.
Lake Winnipesaukee, formerly known to some as Lake Winnipehockey, has a long history with pond hockey. Legend has it that Native American tribes from all over the Northeast would come to the lake to play pond hockey. The game and the lake brought the tribes together for a peaceful competition. Over time, the tournament became extremely popular and a trophyâ€”The Lake Winnipehockey Cupâ€”was created. Today, the New England Pond Hockey Classic keeps this time-honored tournament alive by bringing people together to enjoy a weekend of hockey the way it began.
The tournament strives to bring hockey back to the basics. Teams of four skate on rinks carved out of the ice atop the lake. There are no goalies, no slap shots and no checkingâ€”just good, old-fashioned hockey. During two 15-minute halves, teams brave the elements and try to get the puck into a goal about the size of a loaf of bread. The result is pure, unadulterated fun that brings back memories of childhood games on icy lakes like Winnipesaukee.
While the tournamentâ€™s aim to provide a traditional, nostalgic pond hockey experience is a simple one, the tournament itself is not so ordinary. The first New England Pond Hockey Classic was held in 2010 with just 77 teams competing.Â It quickly grew from there to become one of the most sought after pond hockey tournaments in the country. Teams fly from all over North America and Canada to compete. This year, 24 rinks were built on Meredith Bay to accommodate 250 teams comprised of 1,800 players. Over three days, teams battled to become victorious and 8 earned the right to hoist the Lake WinnipeHockey Cup. Below are the winners by division:
30+ Divisionâ€”Wrap Solutions from Reading, MA
40+ Divisionâ€”Rhode Island Rangers from Providence, RI
50+ Divisionâ€”Milton Maple Leafs from Milton, MA
Open Divisionâ€”Dogs III from Newburyport, MA
Skinny 35+ Divisionâ€”MUNNy Shot from East Lansing, MI
Skinny under 35 Divisionâ€”Sweater Kittens from Billerica, MA
Twig Divisionâ€”Ice Holes from New Hampshire/Maine
Womenâ€™s Divisionâ€”Happy Cows from Windham, NH
Tournaments by nature have winners and losers, but this event isnâ€™t only about the players. Over 10,000 spectators came to watch hockey, share laughs with friends, and enjoy the fun. No matter your age, the New England Pond Hockey Classic is an event that is sure to delight!
What comes to mind when you think of lakes? Perhaps now you hold visions of pond hockey or maybe you imagine warm weather activities like swimming and boating. Wherever your thoughts take you, Lake Winnipesaukee offers that and so much more. Pick a season and Lake Winnipesaukee has activities that the whole family will love. But, you donâ€™t have to pick just one season. At Meredith Bay, the Lakes Regionâ€™s #1 resort-community for four-season fun, you can enjoy them all.