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From a teenager’s eye: Pond hockey

Skaters on Gorham’s Pond in Darien over the weekend. (Elliot Smith)

If there is one thing I will remember about the winters of my childhood and young adulthood it would surely be pond hockey. Pond hockey is a secret gem and the most underestimated winter activity. It gives hockey players and “benders” alike the chance to go out on the pond and pretend that they’re Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby, or Alex Ovechkin for a few moments.

Many hockey fans were disappointed with last year’s winter.

There was only one weekend that was suitable for skating. This was mostly due to the countless Darien families who spent a lot of time and money setting up their backyard rinks. This winter’s forecast looks a lot colder, which is ideal for pond hockey conditions. Many pond-goers have expressed their glee for this winter’s forecast.

Darien High School sophomore Tiger Sullivan says, “I am so excited for this year’s winter because of all the pond hockey I’ll be able to play.”

While pond hockey offers a lot of fun, many people have questions about the exciting activity. The primary question for most is “What should I wear?” The answer to that can vary. The ideal apparel for pond hockey is a sweat suit (sweatpants and sweatshirt), a hat, some hockey gloves, a pair of skates, a stick, and your favorite hockey jersey.

A second question most ask about pond hockey is “where can I get skates?” The answer to that question is less obvious, but answerable nonetheless. The best place to get skates for the season is Blueline Sports at the Darien Ice Rink. They offer great quality skates, both used and new, at a very reasonable price. If you are only looking to use skates once or twice a season, I recommend that you just try to borrow them from a friend or get them from the Darien Ice Rink skate rental facility if they ask you. If worst comes to worse, you can always try to squeeze into a pair of old skates.

A third question for most people that aren’t accustomed to playing hockey is “why is pond hockey so special?”

To answer that question takes some thought. I believe that the greatest part about pond hockey is being able to be free on the ice. In a rink, many hockey players feel limited with the rink’s dimensions. In pond hockey, however, there are hardly any limitations, so a player is free to skate in any area deemed safe.

Another great thing about pond hockey is that it enables hockey players to get substantially better at the game. Overcoming the rough ice helps players develop their stick handling and skating skills.

Whether you are a fan of hockey or not, if you ever get a chance to play a little pond hockey, I recommend that you tie those laces, sharpen those skates, and get out there.

 

Brendan Ferguson is a sophomore at Darien High School and has written for the Neirad, the high school’s newspaper.

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