There’s arena hockey – and then there’s pond hockey. Many in the North have fond memories of pick-up hockey played on the local pond. In that spirit, Concord holds the Black Ice Pond Hockey Championships every year at the end of January.
I grew up in southern Iowa and hockey is not nearly as popular as it is in New England, so I didn’t grow up playing or watching hockey. Now that I live just a few blocks from White Park in downtown Concord, where the tournament is held, I thought I would head over there to take in the atmosphere and get some good sports action photos. On Friday evening at the beginning of the tournament, they had fireworks (and a helicopter hovered over our house apparently filming the show).
It has gotten to be a pretty big deal. Dozens of teams competed in different brackets. There was even a team that came all the way from Florida to participate. Despite the size, it still keeps to the idea of pond hockey. The rinks are outlined with wooden boards, the teams sit on boards resting on five gallon plastic buckets, and they use shovels to clean the rinks between periods and games.
Friday night was a beautiful chilly winter evening. When people were not watching games, they warmed up by the bonfire and several fire barrels around the park. I missed the fireworks, but caught several games. Saturday brought a light snow. I really enjoyed walking around photographing the action in the snow. It was also nice watching the kids playing on the only actual rink at the park.