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Pond hockey tournament brings in all kinds of players

Fargo - Going against players with twice the skill isn't the challenge. Neither is the fact there are imperfections in the ice. No, that makes pond hockey more fun. But when it is minus-2 degrees and you're the one sitting on the bench, that is w...

Some young players
Some young players take the ice during the Scheels Pond Hockey Classic on Sunday near Scheels Arena in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Fargo - Going against players with twice the skill isn't the challenge.

Neither is the fact there are imperfections in the ice. No, that makes pond hockey more fun.

But when it is minus-2 degrees and you're the one sitting on the bench, that is where the problems start to come up.

"When you get your adrenaline going and when you are playing, it is not so bad," said 22-year-old Fargo resident Tim How. "Then when you are on the bench, you freeze for three minutes. That's not fun."

But How, like many others, knows it is all a part of playing pond hockey. How was one of the hundreds to participate in the Scheels Pond Hockey Classic, which took place just east of Scheels Arena. The three-day event started Saturday with the adult tournament and ends today with the youth tournament.

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Kali Mork, the marketing and special events director for Scheels Arena, said the tournament was a three-way partnership among the Fargo Youth Hockey Association, the Fargo Parks District and Scheels Arena.

Craig Bjur, a recreation specialist with the Parks District, was one of the people responsible for making the tournament happen.

Bjur and his staff created four rinks that measure 64 feet by 120 feet.

"Each rink has around 40 boards, so you are looking at 50 sheets of plywood being cut up," Bjur said. "It was a lot of leg work to get it up and running, and it turned out great."

The Scheels Arena grounds hosted a tournament two years ago but was not revived last year due to the arena hosting multiple events, Mork said.

"We see it as this is a new tournament," Mork said.

Though it may be something new, it gave many adults a chance to relive their childhoods.

Part of the obsession that is pond hockey is the nuances that come with it. It is a game being played on natural ice, which can be unforgiving. Smooth passes are at a premium, and the wooden goals might not stay in place, making it tougher to score.

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Then there are the creative team names, like Clam World Order. Fargo resident Dusty Tostenson said his boss's son had a pond hockey team in Minneapolis with the name. His boss' son then sent him the jerseys for the tournament.

"I don't know why," Tostenson said about the team name. "Our play is not that good, so I hope the jerseys make it better."

Tostenson and his team lost their opening game 21-10.

Pond hockey tournaments bring in players from every skill level.

There are players like How, who played high school hockey in Grand Rapids, Minn. Then there are players who used to play Division I hockey.

"I know there are a couple of guys out here who played Division I," How said. "When you see those guys, you just know to move out of the way and let them do what they need to do."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark's Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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