First-ever Worthington pond hockey tourney a hitWORTHINGTON — Ninety-two participants from 28 teams took part in the first annual Worthington Hockey Association (WHA) pond hockey tournament Saturday at the Worthington Ice Arena.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Ninety-two participants from 28 teams took part in the first annual Worthington Hockey Association (WHA) pond hockey tournament Saturday at the Worthington Ice Arena.
The pond hockey tournament was the brainchild of WHA board member Brian Sudbrink, a Spirit Lake parent of two WHA hockey players and coach of the WHA Pee Wee team this past season.
Sudbrink experienced “pond hockey” at a tournament in Fairmont and convinced the WHA board it was worth extending the ice at the arena for an additional week to try it in Worthington. Sudbrink borrowed pond hockey equipment from Fairmont and in only three weeks managed to recruit 28 teams to the tournament. The teams represented hockey players from the Worthington, Luverne, Windom, and Spirit Lake areas.
Sudbrink explained that “pond hockey” is played cross-ice on 1/3 of the ice rink. Three games are played simultaneously using wooden benches and foam dividers to separate the games. The pond hockey goals are small, flat wooden boxes with two openings for pucks. Teams are comprised of three or four skaters with three playing at one time for each team and no checking or goaltending allowed.
At the WHA tournament, the teams were broken up by ages into Mites (4-8), Squirts (9-11), Pee Wees (12-13), and Bantams/Adults (generally 14 and over). There were nine Mite teams, six Squirt teams, four Pee Wee teams, and nine Bantam/adult teams. The teams played three, 15-minute run-time periods.
Sudbrink stated he was very pleased with the response from the area hockey community, especially with such short notice.
“It worked out great,” Sudbrink exclaimed. “It is intended to be a fun, celebratory, end-of-the-season hockey tournament.” Sudbrink praised the assistance he received from many WHA volunteers to make the tournament happen, including Daren Bauman, Darryl Ponto, Paul Olsen, Deb Olsen, Kris Hohensee and Trevor Nickel.
Despite the very unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of indoor dehumidification equipment, the ice at the Worthington Arena held up for most of the day, even with 63 games played starting at 9 a.m. with the Mites and ending at around 7 pm with the adult championship game.
Bryce Olsen, a WHA Squirt hockey player this past season, undoubtedly spoke for all of the participating hockey players when he said that the best thing about the tournament was getting to play hockey in March and hang out with friends. Kevin Black, WHA president, stated that the board intends to make this tournament an annual event with the hopes of expanding it next year to include more players and perhaps making it a multiple day event.
Mite: the Cardinals (Brock Behrend, Chase Flaskey, Patrick Kroski & Hans Hoven) defeated the Mighty Ducklings (Tate Kogel, Cheyenne Schutz, Gavyn Boll, and Billi Jo Connell) 10-8.
Squirts: the Eagles (Eli Becker, Nathaniel Post, & Matt Stubbe) defeated Worthington 1 (Ryan Newman, Davis Moore, & Tommy Bauman) 7-6.
Pee Wees: the Eagles (Ethan Becker, David Vok & Wyatt Schumacher) defeated Worthington 1 (David Sudbrink, Jordan Jensen, Karter Honius & Eric Heidebrink) 9-5.
Bantam/Adult: Worthington 1 (John Standafer, Mike Wildeman, Jared Smith & Joe Vosburgh) defeated Worthington 5 (Kody Honius, Levi Leach, Jacob Oberloh & Issac Kruse) 10-7.