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1.27.2024: Syracuse Pond Hockey Classic @ Clinton Square

No pond? No Problem!

It was a grey, misty day in the mid-30's, par for the course in yet another winter just can't seem to get it's act together, but a lack of pond couldn't didn't deter the hockey faithful from descending upon the Clinton Square for a the Syracuse Pond Hockey Classic.

Sixteen teams descended upon Clinton Square, each with their own identity. Some wore proper sweaters, others plain grey hoodies. Names ranged from absent, to their nom-de-guerre (which themselves ranged from PG to R). All were united by one goal: winning a championship.

The crowd was relatively light, and while it was probably was mostly friends and family of the players in the tourney, it was also surprising in the trends I noticed. Dogs, artists, and public servants attended in abundance. There were dogs of every shape and size, photographers and videographers stalked the rinks, at least two drone pilots, and clumps of police officers in uniform and firefighters in their bunker pants, and even a woman sketching the crowd.

The sketch artist at work.

The event was well organized and had something for everyone! Limp Lizard was on hand with their food truck if you were hungry, a beer truck was at the ready if you thirsty (and what is hockey without a beer), and hot cocoa was available with both marshmallows and whipped cream! There were tailgate games for the kids and well fed firepits to warm cold hands and toes. There was no excuse to be cold since in addition to the fire pits, hand warmers and beanies were available for buy and warm yourself back up! It was a damp day, but everyone was in good spirits. That said, the spectators seemed more interested in socializing with each other than watching the game. Cheering in response to gameplay was more the exception than the rule.

The beanies were a hit!

Pond hockey play is faster but less physical than a regular hockey game. Instead of a tended goal there was a wooden contraption with two shoebox sized holes. There were no on ice refs and no faceoffs. Sportsmanship was in play, and the worst injury I saw was a busted lip.

Clearing the puck away from the goal.

Team Energizer (complete with a pink bunny on the front of their sweaters) lived up to their name by powering through 6 games and outlasting their competition to bring home the cup. All in all it was a great, family friendly way to spend the afternoon for the low price of $0.00!

More Pictures from the Syracuse Pond Hockey Classic:

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