Despite frigid temperatures this weekend, adult hockey players took to the ice in Lake Placid for the Can Am pond hockey tournament. Can Am pond hockey is a relatively new tradition in Lake Placid, introduced in 2005 to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the 1980 Winter Games. Five years later the tournament is still going strong and teams from all over the US and Canada flocked to the Adirondacks to participate in a weekend of hockey and fun in the Olympic Village. With the age categories 21+, 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+ for men, and 21+ and 30+ for women, there was an opportunity for almost all ages to compete.
Pond hockey is a simpler variation of ice hockey. Obviously meant to be played on natural ice surfaces, pond hockey differs from traditional ice hockey. The ice dimensions are different from NHL hockey regulations, (135 feet by 65 feet compared to the NHL’s 200-by-85), there are no boards and no lines on the playing surface. While the rules might seem less-structured in a game of pond hockey, there are still limits; for example, no slap shots, abusive language, or overly aggressive physical contact.
One of the most unique challenges is weather.; when the weather is too warm, for example, skating can be dangerous on a pond, often pushing the teams onto the alternate venue. In 2008, temperatures in the 40s forced the tournament to relocate to the Olympic Oval. At the extreme opposite of the spectrum, cold weather can be difficult as well. This weekend, the temperatures on Saturday were in the negative double digits in the morning, and in the single digits all afternoon.
For more information on pond hockey in Lake Placid, visit the Can Am website at http://www.canamhockey.com/index.php.