It’s 2011 and ‘pond’ hockey fever is finally taking hold. Instigated in years past by the Labatt tournament, and more recently fueled by the Buffalo Pond Hockey Committee, the outdoor winter sport, which had been virtually nonexistent, is alive and well in the city. Yesterday, committee members gathered at the Parkside Lodge in Delaware Park to build two skating rinks – one will be dedicated to hockey play, while the other will be open to the public for free skate (see history). The idea to build two rinks was hatched earlier in the year when committee members agreed to organize a three-man month-long tournament with the finals being played at Olmsted’s Flurrious! winter festival (held on January 21, 2012). If you’re interested in fielding a team, you can contact the committee here.
The two rinks are divided by a row of picnic benches and the Olmsted Conservancy is looking into repairing the overheads lights for night play. In the meantime, the group is utilizing everything at their disposal to build the rinks including power from one member’s truck (by using a power inverter) and wood donated by Buffalo ReUse and citizen supporters. Labatt stepped up yet again to sponsor the two rinks, making the entire project a success. The committee will be posting rules, regulations, skate times, merchandise news, tournament info, etc. on its Facebook page.
The hockey committee is also in the process of getting legit skating out on Gala Waters (Hoyt Lake), and has been meeting with The City to that end. We’re going to see some great advancements in the realm of pond hockey this winter, thanks in no small part to a group of dedicated guys who refused to take ‘no’ for an answer and are bent on helping to promote Buffalo as a ‘hockey town’ filled with people who actually enjoy winters as much as they enjoy summers. In fact, the groups’s mantra is, “Winter couldn’t come quicker.” How ’bout that for a change in attitude?