When describing Minnesota, there are a few elements not to be missed: mosquitoes, the State Fair, lakes, below-zero temperatures, and hockey. Especially hockey. When winter rolls around in our great state, every baseball diamond, backyard, soccer field, or any other flat surface is flooded and frozen into a makeshift hockey rink. Kids get skates strapped onto their feet as soon as they can walk. Little boys and girls in full pads look like miniature football players as they weave, slide, fall, and shakily skate about on the ice in peewee leagues. But above all, winter means the arrival of the sport’s most glorious and natural form: pond hockey.
Celebrating and continuing this tradition is the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, held this weekend on Lake Nokomis. Begun six years ago by Fred Haberman, the USPHC has become an annual pilgrimage for thousands of players and viewers eager to experience hockey “the way nature intended.” Opening ceremonies start bright and early Friday morning at 7:45 a.m., but don’t worry if you’re not up in time—the weekend is packed full of enough hockey to ensure you get your fill.
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis