183  U.S. Pond Hockey Championships+  060120 Ė 0122  ---  In Minnesota, we can easily make rinks on lakes during this time of year*.   Written: 060122, Posted: 060207

Photos:
Photo Gallery > Minnesota Events > 1 - 3 > U.S. Pond Hockey Championships 

128 teams enrolled in this past weekendís pond hockey championships on
Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, MN. They made 25 rinks for the championships on the lake (although we heard they made 26 rinks).  The winners are invited to the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships++  in Ontario, Canada occurring next weekend. It is likely that the rest of the participants will go to Lake Phalen, St. Paul, MN. since the St. Paul Winter Carnival will also host the Minnesota Wild pond hockey championships at Lake Phalen next weekend* (we saw 18 rinks ready on Lake Phalen this past Sun.). 

The pond hockey games are 4 on 4 games, donít allow checking, and donít have goaltenders. Instead of a goaltender, a special wooden goal (as you can see in Photo 5) is used.  This goal is a four sided rectangular enclosure (no top and bottom covers), with the front side having two openings. 
If you hit the puck (with your stick) into your opponentís goal through one of the openings, you will score a goal. Players competed in open, womenís and senior menís divisions. As you can see in Photo 3, we can take advantage of Minnesota's very cold winters to easily build rinks on lakes.

Note: According to the Pioneer Press (060121), the opening (Friday night) included a face-off between Gov. Tim Pawlentyís Team
Minnesota and St. Paul Mayor Chris Colemanís Minnesota White Caps. It looks like Tim (we heard that the Governor is a very good hockey player) and Chris (he just became the mayor of St. Paul this year and may be athletic, too.) played pond hockey this past Fri.  Also, as we all expected, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, the fittest mayor in America** (Congrats!) , attended Friday nightís opening ceremonies.  Our political leaders in Minnesota are physically in shape as well as political talents.  Note from Japanese F: I recall that Japanese leaders seldom participate in competitive sports tournaments such as ice hockey.  

References
Star Tribune,
Minneapolis, MN < http://www.startribune.com >< http://www.happynews.com/news/192006/pond-hockey-championships-benefit-charities.htm >
St. Paul Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN < http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/ >
Pond Hockey Tournament Rules < https://store.canamhockey.com/pond_hockey_rules.pdf#search='pond%20hockey' >
+ U.S. Pond Hockey Championships < http://www.uspondhockey.com/ >
++ Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships < http://www.canadapondhockey.ca/main/ >
*  Ops!  Itís record warm this week.  This balmy weather could jeopardize the Minnesota Wild pond hockey championships < http://www.winter-carnival.com/events/2006/MNwildpondhockey.htm >  at
Lake Phalen. In fact, the championships were postponed and then held on February 4th and 5th.  
St. Paul Winter Carnival < http://www.winter-carnival.com/ >
**  Fittest Mayor in America  < http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=116091 >
Menís Fitness < http://www.mensfitness.com/ >

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