Hockey luminaries, wounded veterans, disabled kids and hundreds of other pond hockey players gathered this past weekend near Maynard’s restaurant on Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka for the 2015 North American Pond Hockey Championships. The popular annual event, sponsored by Cambria, featured three days of hockey games and other events, with all proceeds going to charity.
On Friday, hockey legend Lou Nanne signed copies of his new book as the games began. On Saturday, NHL alumni, including Neal Broten, Mark Parrish and Tom Preissing, played an exhibition game, and Broten signed autographs. A group of wounded warriors played Saturday, and a special scrimmage for athletes of all ages with disabilities was also held that day. In the evenings, attendees listened to music by such entertainers as the Johnny Holm Band and Chris Hawkey.
But mostly, the weekend was about the joy of competition among 70 men’s and women’s teams playing one of Minnesota’s most beloved sports — pond hockey.
One sad event cast a shadow over the weekend — the death of a 46-year-old male player on Friday after he collapsed following a game.