Pond hockey is not your average hockey. Well, perhaps it's the most common kind of hockey, as it's played across countless tiny frozen bodies of water and backyard rinks across North America, but it's not the type most people are used to watching. First, there are no goalies, no slap shots, and certainly no checking. The games are divided into 15-minute halves rather than 20-minute periods. Oh, and nobody gives a damn what kind of hockey experience you have, for pond hockey gives everybody a chance to claim greatness on the ice. Former NHL players play alongside semi-talented former college players. Men and women in the thick of middle age play against young whippersnappers. The pond truly is the great hockey equalizer. The U.S. Championships is the biggest pond hockey tournament in the country, and this year will be even bigger than before. Lake Nokomis will host 26 rinks and 225 4-player teams vying for the coveted and legendary Golden Shovel trophy. And with national media attention—including a JEOPARDY! question about it, Sports Illustrated's Steve Rushin writing a column on it, and ESPN ranking it 66 on the list of "101 Things All Sports Fans Should Experience Before they Die"—the tournament's status as the most high-profile pond hockey tournament in the country will be secured for many years. Free. For more information, call 612.338.3900 or go to www.uspondhockey.com.
Jan. 18-20, 2008