22 Jan The 7th Annual New England Pond Hockey Classic Comes to Meredith!
The event of the season has steadily earned a reputation for providing players and fans alike with a traditional, nostalgic, and truly competitive pond hockey experience. The past several winters have seen quaint Meredith Village on Lake Winnipesaukee bustling with activity as hockey lovers from all over New England and beyond converge on this normally quiet winter wonderland.
The New England Pond Hockey Classic will take place in Meredith, NH February 5th – 7th, 2016. While the games were originally scheduled to take place on Lake Winnipesaukee again this year, the warm December has prevented Meredith Bay from freezing to a safe enough level to accommodate the expected crowds. For the second time in the history of the tournament, the organizers have now officially decided to move the event to nearby Lake Waukewan, just a quarter-mile away on the other side of Meredith.
The first New England Pond Hockey Classic took place in February of 2010, with 77 teams playing old-style hockey in pursuit of the coveted “WinnipeHockey Cup.” Since then the NEPHC has become one of the most sought after pond hockey tournaments in the country, with teams flying from all over North America to compete in beautiful Meredith, New Hampshire.
Now in its seventh year, the NEPHC is bigger and more popular than ever, with the event sold out at 260 teams that will compete in the 4 v 4 round-robin tournament on 26 classic rinks the first weekend of February. There will be over 550 games over the course of the weekend, with teams organized into 8 divisions, including the Open Division, 30-plus, 40-plus, 50-plus, the Women’s Division, two just-for-fun divisions called Shinny and Shinny 35+, and the newest “Twig” Division, a recreational division for players who live for the pond but might not have the ability to hang with the former professional and college players in the Open and Shinny Divisions.
New this year, the organizers are working with the Common Man and Labatt Blue to create the “Labatt Blue Zone,” an Official Tournament Bar on site at the event. They are also partnering with Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, who is sponsoring a stage with live music during Friday and Saturday of the tournament.
Pond hockey athletes are encouraged to bring their previously used equipment to donate to Restore Hockey, the tournament’s official non-profit sponsor. Restore Hockey cleans and restores the equipment and donates it to children, families, and organizations in need. Says Scott Crowder, organizer of the NEPHC, “All this stuff that would normally end up in a landfill is ending up on the ice… and a child gets a chance to fall in love with the game.” Restore Hockey also gladly accepts financial donations, which help the organization purchase new equipment for the community. The Pond Hockey Classic is proud to partner with this great organization.
For more information about the New England Pond Hockey Classic or Restore Hockey, please visit the NEPHC website at www.pondhockeyclassic.com. To book your weekend in Meredith, call Mill Falls at the Lake at 800-622-6455.
Here’s to a great Pond Hockey weekend! Good luck to the NEPHC teams!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team