This weekend I was fortunate enough to experience this amazing event in the scenic-resort town of Meredith. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, about 270 teams competed all over Meredith Bay for the “Winnipesaukee Cup” and the entire town was bustling as a result. License plates were showing up from all over for some good ol’ fashion pond hockey. It was truly amazing to see just how fast this event has grown in such a small time frame; in just five years the number of teams, vendors, and crowds has
improved sustainably. This was the first year all the rinks had backboards instead of snowbanks, making for a more defined (and safer!) environment. Thankfully the cold weather cooperated with the event and set up the ice beautifully. It took hundreds of hours in prep to get the facility in tip-top shape and there are workers down on the bay right now still cleaning up.
There were some people on the lake! Traffic was backed up all the way to Route 104 and throughout all the downtown streets of Meredith village. The inns, restaurants and hotels were slammed and cash registers were ringing off the hook! Meredith Bay is such a great setting to
kick back, catch up with old friends and watch some good old fashion pond hockey.
The founder of the event Scott Crowder grew up in a hockey-family where his family played for the Boston Bruins and Pittsburg Penguins. Scott played hockey at UMass Amherst. I’ve got to say. Each year, the event has improved substantially, in number of teams competing, events that follow, on-site vendors and crowds! Wow! Were there some people on the lake! Traffic was backed up to Route 104 in Meredith and throughout the downtown Village on Main Street. This is a very good thing for our community! Because of the event’s growth, it has been able to draw a large number of sponsors which will continually grow the event into future years. Following the success of the event in Meredith, Scott Crowder started another tournament on Lake Champlain in Vermont and another this year in Montana.
If you’re unfamiliar with just what “Pond Hockey” is take a look at this episode of “On Frozen Ponds”. It’s a very nicely done video showing some great footage of the tournaments and the preparation that leads up to it. You can check out the episodes here:
Think about how many great events have started from scratch in the Lakes Region…
Laconia Motorcycle Week
Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook
The Winnipesaukee Playhouse & Interlake’s Summer Theatre
The Timberman Triathlon
the Meredith Rotary Winter Fishing Derby
The Winni Derby
Antique Classic Boat Show
Lee’s Mills Steamboat Rally
New Hampshire International Speedway
The Lakes Region Ice Racing Club
and the list goes on and on!
Many thanks go out to Scott Crowder and his team for creating a truly remarkable winter event that benefits all of us locals who are lucky enough to call the Lakes Region our home. Hats off to the Pond Hockey Classic! A great tradition that we’ll hopefully enjoy for many years to come!
By Frank Roche, President Roche Realty Group, Inc.