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Patriots enjoy pond hockey in the cold weather

Seniors+Jack+Mullen%2C+Ben+Sanders%2C+Joey+Schuman+and+Jordan+Doyle+take+a+break+during+a+hockey+game+on+the+ice+in+the+Seven+Oaks+Subdivision.+
Seniors Jack Mullen, Ben Sanders, Joey Schuman and Jordan Doyle take a break during a hockey game on the ice in the Seven Oaks Subdivision.

Seniors Jack Mullen, Ben Sanders, Joey Schuman and Jordan Doyle take a break during a hockey game on the ice in the Seven Oaks Subdivision.

Michelle Mullen

Michelle Mullen

Seniors Jack Mullen, Ben Sanders, Joey Schuman and Jordan Doyle take a break during a hockey game on the ice in the Seven Oaks Subdivision.

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This winter has been a very cold one with many days below freezing. These temperatures do not make going outside very enjoyable. One fun activity for these temperatures is pond hockey.

Missouri is usually not the ideal place to play due to the ponds not freezing. Playing pond hockey is like second nature up north.

Minnesota native and history teacher Adam Weiss grew up playing pond hockey.

“Soon after I learned to walk, my parents put skates on me and I learned to skate. My sister was a figure skater so skating was in my blood,” Weiss said.

Pond hockey is similar in many ways but also very different from indoor hockey.

“The hardest thing is definitely fighting the elements. It is a lot colder and windier than in the rink. The pond isn’t properly taken care of so skating and passing are a lot harder,” he said.

A normal hockey rink is frozen to a certain temperature and maintained with a zamboni in between games and periods.

In St. Louis County there are plenty of ponds available. Senior Joey Schuman has a specific pond he calls home.

“My go-to pond is definitely Seven Oaks pond off Dougherty Ferry. There is nothing like meeting up at the pond with all of my best friends,”  he said.

On the other hand, senior Caylee Clemons has played on many ponds even up north in Canada.

“I love to play at any frozen pond. I think my favorite pond i’ve played on was up in Canada. The vibe was a lot different than in Missouri. The environment made me feel like a real Canadian playing hockey,” Clemons said.

Although pond hockey can be very fun there are many safety issues. Hockey itself is a dangerous sport but when you play on a pond outdoors there are more factors to worry about. Falling through the ice is the biggest concern. Any pond with ice thickness less than 4 inches is never safe to play hockey on. 4 inch thickness is safe to walk, ice fish and cross country ski on and 5 inches is safe for a snowmobile. The smartest way to test the ice is to drill through the ice and bring a ruler to test the depth. Bringing a rope and dressing warm are also steps to take to be safer while on the pond. Also, if a pond has the fountain on, do not skate on it.

You can play pond hockey many different ways. The most classic way is by scrimmaging. Weiss said he is a big fan of scrimmaging.

“Scrimmaging with my friends was the best. We used to play 4 on 4 with little nets and no goalies. The small nets made it a challenge. My favorite memory was bringing Pepsis to bury in the snow and pull them out for halftime and chug them. They were ice cold which made them taste better,” he said.

Schuman also likes to scrimmage.

“It is a yearly tradition for me and all of the guys to go up to Seven Oaks and play. It is our version of the Winter Classic,” he said.

 

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