Dave Bigham inspired his pals with his ambition to create the North American Pond Hockey Tournament. Two years ago, after his death from a heart attack at age 41, J. Lindsay, Steve Youngstedt and Justin Pagel took on the responsibility for continuing the event. Their ownership brought great changes, including the fact that 100 percent of proceeds from the tournament now go toward charitable causes.
“We are encouraged and optimistic that we can continue to grow in a way to benefit more people,” Lindsay says.
In partnership with the ALS Association and other charities, last year’s event raised more than $81,000. The tournament’s title sponsor, Maynards, provides the backdrop for a weekend-long tournament. With the slogan “Pond hockey so real, it will bring out the kid in you,” the event includes hockey games, a fun run/walk on Thursday and concerts on Friday and Saturday night. This year’s charity partner is Defending the Blue Line, which helps kids from military families participate in ice hockey.
Sponsors in 2013 included Polaris, Youngstedt’s and Walser. Lindsay credits “hundreds of volunteers” as the event’s driving force. Last year’s tournament also invited youngsters to play; supporters of the Jack Jablonski Foundation and the Herb Brooks Foundation participated as well.
The tournament is divided into four divisions, depending on age and gender. The cost to enter is $500 for men’s teams, $300 for women’s teams. Visit pondhockeyexcelsior.com to register. The puck drops at 8 a.m. January 23.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
WHAT: North American Pond Hockey Tournament
WHERE: Excelsior Bay
WHEN: January 23–26; 5 – 9 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, championship games on Sunday
COST: Free for spectators