Sights from the 9280 Pond Hockey Tourney at Keystone
Special to the Daily
9280 Pond Hockey Tournament champions (by division)
Silver: Black Ice
Bronze: Animal House
45-plus: Motown Mayhem
Women’s open: Colorado Select AAA
U-8: Denver Jr. Pioneers
U-10: Florida Fish Heads
U-12: Denver Jr. Pioneers
U-14: Summit Lightning U14
Over the weekend of Jan. 23-24, more than 90 teams of various ages and abilities took to the ice in the second-annual 9280 Pond Hockey Tournament on Keystone Lake. Teams competed in nine different divisions on seven divided sheets of ice for the title of 9280 Champion.
Pond hockey is played with teams of six players, each playing four-on-four hockey on small sections of ice. Games consist of two 15-minute halves, and that means exciting, quick-paced action. There are no goaltenders and teams try to score on goals roughly the size of a shoebox.
The ice is also a factor. Since natural ice degrades differently from man-made ice in a rink, it makes for variable conditions and is a true test of a team’s puck handling and passing skills. The Keystone Pond ice is maintained with Zamboni machines all winter, but the action it sees in a pond hockey format means it degrades just as quickly as any other pond.
Returning open division champions “Storm,” who captured their second straight top division title, highlighted the tournament. There was also an appearance by former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda.
Summit U-14 champs
Highlight of the weekend for local players was a hard-fought victory by the Summit Youth Hockey bantam team. Local bantam player Caleb Mallory, whose team managed to capture the U-14 division championship, remarked, “It was fun to win, but above all we really wanted to win because it meant we were able to play more games of pond hockey!”
This year’s tournament was much bigger than last year’s tournament, with more teams and more rinks.
“We will continue to grow this tournament but it will be a controlled growth in conjunction with Keystone Resort,” tournament commissioner Mike Gempler said. “We don’t want to overrun the pond.”
The youth division experienced the biggest growth, according to Gempler, as entire families and teams came to play. After playing games, kids enjoyed watching their coaches play in the exact same tournament.
In the end, the tournament raised more than $5,000 for Summit Youth Hockey, Summit High School and the Breckenridge Bucks. Organizers expect the tournament to return again next year around the same time in January.
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