The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 26, 2013

For Ford pond hockey tourney, colder weather is good puck

(Continued)

LAKE WASHINGTON —

Todd and Bo didn’t have their skates on Saturday, but Todd said he has played in previous adult tournaments. It’s also a good thing for the younger players to see older guys they know outside on the ice having fun, he added. That way they learn that hockey is a sport that can be enjoyed for years.

Next year’s tournament has already been set for Jan. 25, but Ford said “the dream” is to eventually spread the games across two days. That would allow for an adult tournament one day and a kids tournament the other day. It would also mean a lot more work. This year there were about 50 volunteers helping out.

“There’s a lot of logistics that we would have to figure out,” she said.

This year’s tournament took a big step forward with the addition of 12 sets of plastic pond hockey boards. During previous tournaments snow was used to create boarders around the miniature rinks scattered across the bay outside Westwood Marina.

This year temperatures cooperated by creating a thick coat of ice across the lake, but Mother Nature hasn’t been as generous with the snow. So without the new boards there is a chance the tournament could have been canceled again, Ford said.

“We’ve heard a lot of positive comments that everyone loves the boards,” she said. “It brings a more professional atmosphere to the tournament.”

Cheryl Oltman’s sons — Sam, 8, and Caden, 10 — are about the age Anthony Ford was when he died. Caden played in the tournament two years ago and had a blast, so Oltman sent out an email to all the hockey parents she knew to help organize four teams for this year’s tournament.

When the event started five years ago, many of the younger players knew Anthony because they hung out with him at All Seasons Arena and at Minnesota State University hockey games. The only way the Oltmans know about Anthony is through information that’s provided through the foundation.

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