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The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships are an annual pond hockey event on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Though an amateur tournament, the competition draws hockey enthusiasts from all over North America, many of whom have pro and college hockey experience.
ESPN.com listed the tournament as part of their "101 Things Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die."
The tournament includes competition in six divisions:
- The Open Division (anyone can play)
- 40+ Division
- 50+ Division
- Rink Rats (amateurs who would rather not face the near-pro talent that is common in the Open Division)
The teams compete for a trophy called the Golden Shovel. Each year, the winners of each division get to engrave their names into the Golden Shovel in a tradition reminiscent of the NHL's Stanley Cup.
Past Winners (Open Division)Edit
2006: Wright Homes almost 40: Curt Wright, Justin Brown, Dan Goff, Dave Bakken, Dave Shute, Randy Gallatin
2007: Whiskey Bandits: Jamison Steinert, Matt Elsen, Jess Johnson, Tim Olson, Nick Hanrahan, Dan Ibrahim
2008: Wright Homes almost 40: Curt Wright, Justin Brown, Dan Goff, Dave Bakken, Dave Shute, Randy Gallatin
2009: Concord USA: Sam Cornelius, Peter Fitzgerald, Billy Hengen, Justin Kapsen, Geoff Kragness, Jeff Yurecko
Due to the unusually warm weather in Minnesota during the winter of 2006-2007, tournament sponsors had to move the tournament from Lake Calhoun to Lake Nokomis. Notable players in the 2007 tournament include:
- Phil Housley
- Brad Bombardir
- Guy Kawasaki