The Willistonian, Est. 1881

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Pond Hockey Goes National

The+2014-15+Williston+Girls%27+Hockey+team+skated+on+the+school%27s+pond+last+winter.+Courtesy+of+WIlliston+Flickr.
The 2014-15 Williston Girls' Hockey team skated on the school's pond last winter. Courtesy of WIlliston Flickr.

The 2014-15 Williston Girls' Hockey team skated on the school's pond last winter. Courtesy of WIlliston Flickr.

The 2014-15 Williston Girls' Hockey team skated on the school's pond last winter. Courtesy of WIlliston Flickr.

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The 13th annual Pond Hockey Championships began on January 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Meanwhile the freezing temperatures allowed Williston students to skate on the school’s pond for the first time since 2016.

The Williston community has been enjoying the perfect outdoor rink created by the school’s grounds crew. Many students love skating, whether they have past experience doing so or not. Much similarly, the Labatt Blue US Pond Hockey Championship housed 283 teams and six divisions in this year’s tournament.

Lake Nokomis is where the Championship takes place. The lake has been housing the tournament since 2005, and the participants come from all over the country to gather in Minnesota to hoist the Golden Shovel. This trophy is more than just a trophy; it was found in  2005 while the University of Minnesota was excavating Lake Nokomis in search of Viking artifacts. What they found, underneath a set of dead Viking warrior bones, was a golden shovel.

This year the winner of the Golden Shovel was a team named “RJ Ryan Construction.” Some of the past winners were “Wright Homes/Four Star Hockey” and “Surge Cycling/Red Army.”

The Williston pond has a rich history of its own. Many winning varsity hockey seasons took place on the pond next to Ford Hall. Alumni told the hockey team that they used to use cake frosting as the red lines and blue line. Apparently, the frosting would not melt off, and would normally do the trick. The team also put up makeshift boards on the pond, to closely resemble a real rink.

But playing a regular season on the pond is also very risky. According to the school archives, there was a season where our team only got to play about eight games. They played on the pond until 1963, when the then new Lossone Ice Rink was created, which was named after long time Williston hockey coach, William Lossone.

The weather conditions are what can make or break the pond. Much like last year, the pond was never frozen enough to skate on at all.

Cam Mariani ’19 said skating on the pond was a truly unique experience he wouldn’t have had at any other school.

“I played pond hockey  everyday over winter break,” he said. Skating with the team for a practice was a great opportunity and I would have never had that chance if I didn’t go to Williston. The ice wasn’t the best after we were out there for a few hours, but when we first started it looked like we were skating on glass. We couldn’t even see the puck.”

The physical plant staff does a terrific job keeping up with the conditions and levels of the pond, checking it every day throughout the winter. The pond does have a set of rules that all Williston students must follow.

“Williston students should refrain from walking across the pond before being told it is safe to do so. And all students must stay off the pond after 5 pm, as it is too dark to be skating,” according to a school wide email from Anne O’Connor, Head of Security.

Because Williston is not just a school of hockey players, the pond also offers many firsts for people not from cold regions of the country or world.

Alex Berg ’19 is from Florida, and has never had the chance to skate outside in his home state.

“It feels weird to skate somewhere that I call home,” he said. “I’m so used to the hot weather and beaches down in Florida, that I never really got the chance to skate on a pond. I’ve played pond hockey once before in my life, while I was playing in a tournament in New York, but other than that it’s a new experience.”

Surely pond hockey does not have the same intensity as ice hockey, but it brings you back to simpler times. The lack of intensity reminds you why you enjoy playing the sport.

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Pond Hockey Goes National