Winny Brodt Brown, the former Minnesota Ms. Hockey, Gophers national champion and current Whitecaps player, has a special place in her heart for pond hockey.
“The pond is where the love of the game grows for kids,’’ Brodt Brown said. “It’s not always the organized stuff.’’
With that in mind, Brodt Brown set out to bring the pond to more players, and the result was the Girls Hockey Outdoor Classic, which will celebrate its fifth edition on Saturday at the Guidant John Rose MN Oval in Roseville. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. A partner event, the Boys Hockey Outdoor Classic, will follow at 3 p.m. Admission is free.
For Brodt Brown, the former Roseville High School standout, the Oval made sense because of its size and controlled conditions with refrigerated ice; “We didn’t have to worry about lakes freezing,’’ Brodt Brown said. The Oval might not be a pond, but it certainly is as big as one, and will feature 12 games going on at once.
“It’s just bringing the game back to pond hockey for the kids, because I don’t think they get exposed to it enough,’’ said Brodt Brown, owner of Os Hockey Training, the event’s sponsor. “Pick-up hockey and going out there and playing, not necessarily any rules. Just go on there and have fun.’’
The girls’ event will feature teams in 8-and-under, 10-and-under and 12-and-under divisions. Seventy-two teams signed up for the event, and more than 800 girls will play. There be four sessions of 30-minute games featuring four-on-four with pond hockey nets and no goalies. Members of the Whitecaps and Metropolitan Riveters, who play a series at TRIA Rink on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, will be on hand. Along with the hockey, the Oval will host an open skate for spectators.
The boys’ event, sponsored by Tradition Hockey and organized by former Hobey Baker Award winner Marty Sertich, is in its third year and will include 48 teams at the Mite and Squirt age.
“I thought it would be really cool to give these kids the experience of outdoor hockey,’’ Brodt Brown said. “… It’s all about growing the game.’’