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In Praise of Pond Hockey

Updated on November 6, 2014

A Frozen Pond, A Pair of Skates... A Little Bit of Heaven on Open Ice

Pond hockey. Just those two words conjure memories of crisp winter afternoons on a backyard rink or frozen pond, slapping a puck around with your best friends, winning the Stanley Cup every day after school - if only in your imagination.

So what if your hometown team doesn't have a prayer to make the Stanley Cup playoffs this year... it's all the more reason to get off the couch and lace up! You're never too old for a quick game of shinny, and we're certainly far from alone in the pure love of the game. NHL, heh, that's only part of the play. If you ask me, the real hockey passion shows up where the ice has a few bumps and cracks, where the uniforms are nothing more fancy than whatever you've got on today and the equipment is found in the back of your garage.

Skate back in time with me to those halcyon days when you were 8 years old and all things seemed possible, fighting out a pick-up game of pond hockey, out on the ice of the backyard rink...

Photo by Robin Davies / newlow on Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

The World Plays Pond Hockey - World Pond Hockey Championship is an annual event, held each February in Plaster Rock, NB, Canada

World Pond Hockey Championships - Championnat mondial de hockey sur tang by New Brunswick Tourism - Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick, on Flickr
World Pond Hockey Championships - Championnat mondial de hockey sur tang by New Brunswick Tourism - Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick, on Flickr

World Pond Hockey Championships / Championnat mondial de hockey sur ├ętang

Tourism New Brunswick | Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick

Did you know that pond hockey is still going strong all over the snowy bits of North America, and spreading all over the world? Each year, a tiny village in eastern Canada plays host to hundreds of teams - with many more teams on a waiting list, wanting to get ice time - in fun and friendly competition of the World Pond Hockey Championships!

Pond hockey - it's part of the way we light our way through the long dark northern winter.

Poll: Outdoor Ice or Indoor Rink?

Where does the REAL hockey happen?

Outdoors - the rougher the ice, the better I like it!

Outdoors - the rougher the ice, the better I like it!

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    • MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Always outdoors - half the fun is the cold, crisp air!

    • Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Outdoors. Free, accessible, only the imagination and some agreed-upon rules as the limit.

    • ToolSELECT 5 years ago

      Better memories. Better sportsmanship. Plus, get to break out the wooden sticks!

    • flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Outdoors, of course!You?

    Indoors - smoother ice makes for a faster game

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      • Ardyn25 4 years ago

        We had a creek right in front of our house when I was growing up and as soon as it froze we were out there on skates, playing shinney, or scooting the puck around. It was the best feeling ever, even if it was -35 C we didn't notice. Clear moonlight nights were the best. Now I want to go outdoor skating..lol..

      • Cecil Kenmill 5 years ago from Osaka, Japan

        Indoors. I don't play hockey but if I ever did it would be indoors. I always skate indoors.

      Why We Love Pond Hockey

      "I wish I could go back and be 8 years old again for a couple of days," says Neal Broten, member of the 1980 US "Miracle on Ice" Olympics team and 1995 Stanley Cup winner.

      Neal's not alone in that wish, I suspect. The more complicated life gets, the better that 8-year-old's life looks, gazing back in time!

      These days, a rousing game of pond hockey is about as close as it comes, for most of us, to getting to live again those cold clear winter days of our childhood - when we made up the rules as we went along, and it was okay to fall down.

      Pond Hockey Memoirs - Memories of Playing Shinny

      Good times out on those backyard rinks, frozen ponds, and winter roads... for the love of the game! Remember? Here are three super books of amateur hockey stories that will bring it all back to you.

      North American Pond Hockey Tournament listing - Backyard-Hockey.com
      North American Pond Hockey Tournament listing - Backyard-Hockey.com

      North American Pond Hockey Tournaments

      All over Canada and the colder parts of the United States, during the winter, you'll find groups of men and women - young and not so young, father and son, hockey fans to the bone - lacing on the skates and gathering with hockey sticks in hand wherever a sheet of clear outdoor ice can be found. Often the games are simply pick-up, a little fun between friends... but did you know there are organized leagues of pond hockey players?

      Backyard-Hockey.com maintains a list of North American Pond Hockey Tournaments - check it out, and take in a pond hockey game near you!

      International Pond Hockey's Premier Event

      World Pond Hockey Championships

      Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada

      February 7 to 10, 2013

      The tiny village of Plaster Rock (pop. 1221) in New Brunswick, Canada, is home to the annual World Pond Hockey Championships - "a real global event in one of the most beautiful places in the world" that brings the riverside community alive for a magical weekend of outdoor sport and international camaraderie. This is the great game of wintertime as it is meant to be played!

      Have your say, sports fans! - Pond hockey, road hockey, or backyard rinks?

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          Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

          We have an outdoor community skating rink in our community each year and it is very nice. The city generally puts up Christmas lights around the rink and it is really pretty to see.

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          SteveKaye 3 years ago

          Pro sports (especially hockey) have ceased to be sports in too many ways. So I expect, pond hockey could be a good, fun game for children.

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          Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

          My oldest son went to the big outdoor hockey event in Detroit this year - I trained as a figure skater in my youth and I remember one year I was able to skate outdoors on the St. Lawrence Seaway across from our home..and it was amazing! also we had a huge frozen section in our backyard one year and I was able to skate outside - there's NOTHING like it! love it - although it can be rough on the blades - I also skated on a few outdoor rinks in Toronto back in the 80's - the one outside Ryerson for one - was so much fun

        • Wednesday-Elf profile image

          Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

          First I've heard of Pond Hockey, but I have family members who are BIG hockey fans and have played it as an amateur. I'm sure they know about pond hockey. :)

        • Merrci profile image

          Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

          It looks like so much fun! Enjoyed your lens.

        • srsddn lm profile image

          srsddn lm 4 years ago

          It is quite interesting to know about Pond Hockey. Thanks for sharing.

        • flycatcherrr profile image
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          flycatcherrr 4 years ago

          @Ardyn25: Agh, don't you hate when that happens?! :)

        • Ardyn25 profile image

          Ardyn25 4 years ago

          Pond hockey is certainly the best. I meant to vote 'outdoors' on the question above, but hit indoors by mistake.

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          Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

          I miss Canadian winter...went "skating" outdoor in Paris this winter only to realized the "ice" rink was not even made of ice (some kind of plastic slippery surface). Nothing beats cheering a bunch of kids playing hockey outdoor by minus 25

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Where my parents live, the city still put up a few outdoor ice rinks and kids play hokey. When I was a kid we played Broomball during recess on the school rink.