Pond hockey tournament at Dillon Marina kindles pure hockey joy and deepens lifelong friendships
There is nothing more sacred and pure to the sport of hockey than the game being played on a sheet of pond hockey ice.
The 2022 Pabst Blue Ribbon Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament brought this classic form of hockey to the Dillon Marina for three full days of pond hockey and festivities from Friday, Feb.18 to Sunday, Feb. 20.
This is the first year the tournament has been held at Dillon Marina after being moved from North Pond Park in Silverthorne because of how much the tournament has grown in the last few years.
The move to Dillon Marina allowed for the pond surface to be expanded and the ability to have more games played at one time.
At the base of the Dillon Marina, mini hockey rinks were set up for three-on-three hockey games, which lasted 30 minutes each.
The games were as pure as hockey can get as there were no goalies and players had to rely on skating and stick handling to put the puck in the small plywood goal.
Teams made up of at least six players traveled from all over the country to compete and have fun in the tournament.
The weather couldn’t have been better for the event with sunny blue skies overhead as participants poke checked the puck around the rink, ate food, and guzzled down some of the beer being served in the event beer garden.
The tournament featured a total of 226 teams with each team name and uniform being entirely unique.
Team Miami Ice played in uniforms that matched the same pink and blue color scheme of the famous ’80s television show “Miami Vice.”
Another team named the Minions! based their uniforms off another pop culture reference by dressing up as the little yellow side kicks in the 2010 animated movie “Despicable Me.”
The team Gettin’ Gritty Wit It played in the 40-plus age division and their uniforms and team name payed homage to the Philadelphia Flyer’s infamous orange furry mascot, Gritty.
Gary Yovanovich, who lives outside of Philadelphia, said the team name is also a play on words to the famous song by Philadelphia native Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.”
Yovanovich says this is the first time the team has played in the Colorado pond hockey tournament but that it was a weekend for the history books for him and his lifelong friends.
“We had a blast, this is the first time we have heard about it,” Yovanovich said. “We have all known each other since we were kids growing up so it’s a good time to get together, catch up, play a little hockey, hit the hot tub, and have some beers.”
Yovanovich and his team ended up placing second in the 40-plus age division, after losing to team Beer and Hockey 11-4 in the championship game.
The loss didn’t seem to dampen any of the Gettin Gritty Wit It team members’ spirits as they put on more Philadelphia-based sports team gear and cracked open a fresh alcoholic beverage to enjoy the rest of the day.
The tournament also featured a couple local teams including Summit Youth Hockey in the 40-plus age division, Pucking Critter in the women’s division, and Scummit in the Pabst division.
Both Pucking Critter and Scummit both made it to the championship game in the early afternoon hours on Sunday.
Pucking Critter lost to Ladies of San Diego Animal 18-15, while Scummit defeated The Tissies in dominant fashion 15-8.
Scummit hoisted their championship trophy in front of a sizable Summit-based crowd who cheered them on as the team all took their turns taking a skate with the trophy like they had won the pond hockey equivalent of the NHL’s Stanley Cup.
Like many teams at the tournament, Scummit is made up mainly of childhood friends. Scummit particularly formed their bond while playing hockey together while growing up in Summit County.
“We all grew up in here, we grew up playing together,” Drake Blass said. “It feels good to win it on the home turf. It’s an awesome event, great venue, great view, we need to get the Colorado Avalanche playing here.”
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