I can’t believe today would have marked my 6th consecutive year of helping out with the US Pond Hockey Championships. However, due to my travel schedule this year I will be unable to help. Instead, I am getting ready to fly back to Minnesota this morning from a work trip. As sad as it is to break such a good streak and tradition, I figured I would reflect back on some of my prior times helping today and how I came to help out since I can’t be there this year to volunteer.
Where it all Started for Me
Honestly, I stumbled across the USPHC kind of by accident. I was newer to Twitter and started following people and companies in the Twin Cities. One day I finally realized that a couple guys and a company I was following, we’re talking about this event as the weather was starting to get colder. As it turns out the company was SportsNgin (now called SportsEngine), who was the major sponsor of the event and the guys talking about it worked there and we’re the co-founders of the company (Justin and Carson). I did some reading about the event and found out it was a big deal and that it was happening in January. To top it off, they were looking for volunteers and I figured what better way to spend a day than being outside. So why did you volunteer to stand on the ice for 8 hours in what could be really cold January weather? Fair question, this probably peaked my interest more as I had just acquired the used materials for a backyard rink and was in the process of getting it ready for the cold. So as I was hearing about and seeing all of these pictures online of skating in the middle of a lake on an actual pond, it peaked my interest to see it in person and watch some games. Now a quick side story, I grew up in Iowa and have never played hockey in my life or really ice skated in any prolonged amount of time. I used to rollerblade and play roller hockey in the street but nothing on the ice.
Side benefits of volunteering
For what started out to be a random event that I volunteered at I ended up meeting a lot of really interesting people. In fact some of these people that I had interacted with on social media before I then met in real life and it was like we knew each other. Also, the tournament brings in a bunch of people from all around the state of Minnesota as well as across the US, so it was always fun chatting with people to figure out where they came from and their background stories of playing hockey. That is one of the side benefits of volunteering in an area outside of your “normal” zone, you get to meet people you probably wouldn’t have in your life. Every year since then I have enjoyed it like the first. I have met new people and people from previous years. Also, I have been able to spend a morning being outside on a big sheet of ice. Even though through the past years lots of efficiencies have been made in the Tournament operations it still has stayed true to its roots of just getting people to play hockey outside as intended.
When you start to think about it 5 years is a long time to do anything in my opinion. Now even though I couldn’t help out this year, I hope to make it to Nakomis and watch a couple of games. If you have made it this far and want to see what it all looks like check out the US Pond Hockey Championships YouTube channel as they have some amazing videos from 2016 and 2017. I hope they put one out again this year as they somehow get some amazing shots of the games and tournament in general. I am looking forward to hopefully helping out again next year as I always a great time volunteering. Oh, and did I mention they give out some good hats. 😁