Stop by any pond hockey tournament, and you'll witness a frosty tableau of giddy, puck-loving weekend warriors reliving glory days, enjoying the great outdoors and knocking back a few carbonated beverages. Draw composite pictures of those players, and the images would break into two distinct camps. First is the grizzled 35-year-old or 40-plus hockey veteran, who grew up on the ponds, with a quaint beer belly stretching his jersey but still with good wheels and a good idea of how to use them. The second is the under-30 player raised on indoor ice, drawn more by the sheer novelty of the event.
That's what roughly 500 participants and another 1,500 or so spectators found on the seven "rinks" that dotted New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee during the inaugural New England Pond Hockey Championships on a sun-splattered weekend last winter. At the center of this perfect pond hockey storm, corralling these two disparate groups, was a 24-year-old University of Massachusetts graduate, Scott Crowder.
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