Growing up in Los Angeles, there were no sustainable Outdoor Rinks in my neighborhood. However, when I went to Pacific Regionals in Fairbanks, Alaska in a few seasons ago, I was able to play on a pond with my team. It was a great experience skating in the fresh air and the ice was way harder (which ratcheted up the speed of the game).
I go to college in the Midwest, so once the lake starts to freeze, I will be out there playing shinny with my friends and some local high school players again.
I recommend you get to experience playing on a pond while you still can.
I did up until I was about 13. My buddy had a forest behind his house and if you walked about 5 minutes in, you'd get to a decent size pond. You never knew when the ice was going to be good and when it was going to be bad. Usually near the end of winter we'd be playing and someone would accidentally jab a hole in it and the entire thing would be covered in nasty pond water. That was when we knew to pack it in for the year.
These days I live in a different city and outdoor rinks are built all over the place every year. In a way I miss the pond, but the rinks really are so much better.
When I lived in Toronto I'd play TONNES of outdoor hockey, most at outdoor rinks, but occasionally on ponds too (mostly when I went to visit family near Kitchener, but also at this small-ish pond downtown, right here). Ponds are nice and picturesque, but the ice is generally *****, you often have to clear off the snow yourself, and pucks get lost in the snow banks constantly, despite being less pretty an outdoor rink really is way better if you actually wanna get a good game going. But now that I live in Vancouver it's impossible to play outside (one tiny outdoor rink downtown, but I don't think they ever allow hockey there), so now it's all indoor for me. Definitely miss shinny.
I do not play on a traditional pond, but nearly every Saturday last winter my buddies and I would play at one of the many outdoor rinks in the area. I look forward to it all week. IMO nothing beats playing hockey all day. Then getting home and taking a hot shower and watching HNIC while I have a few beers before going out. I can't wait!
Yup, I play a lot of pond hockey during the winter. Its a blast and its fun playing hockey with people of all ages and ability levels.
Theres over a dozen outdoor rinks here in Madison that have hockey and I make my own rink on the lake by my house.
I honestly feel kind of bad for people who arent lucky enough to live in a place where they can skate and play hockey outside. Its completely different than playing on an indoor rink and definetly forces you to change how you play the game. Pond hockey is much more of a puck control game than is the indoor game.
not many ponds to play on where im from but quite a few outdoor rinks (bball courts ftw) ...... play every single day the ice is good usually stay from 8-12ish
absolutely love playing pond hockey, much funner getting drunk, dangling and sniping posts than wearing bulky gear and playing indoors
living in Georgia so not really an option for me but I want to so bad it's ridiculous the ice just looks to good. My wife has an Aunt who lives in Mass. so if we ever go up there i wanna get in a pick up game
It's not really pond hockey... but Toronto has a lot of artificial ice surfaces that allow players to get some pickup going. I try to get out to Nathan Phillip Square a couple of times in December. They usually leave the Christmas lights on, making things easier to see. The trick with Nathan Phillip Square is that hockey is technically not allowed, but pretty much everyone knows that games break out once the rink guards leave. Just watch out for the zamboni ramp, and the horrible ice (since they don't flood the ice before closing).
The other hockey pads are further west, and are too far for me to travel to and from.
It's a lot of fun... noncompetitive and not really hockey. Playing always reminds me why I took up the game in the first place.
I live in a private neighbourhood and we have a tennis court down the street that we flood every winter, so it turns into a pretty large drink. The ice is usually pretty good, and there are tall fences surrounding the court that make for good boards, especially when there are small snow banks on the bottoms. I'll post pics some time.
The problem is lots of little kids come by sometimes, which means those of us older have to watch ourselves and not get in their way/swear/drink/whatever. The worst is those who come and don't play hockey, they just skate around.
We do here as much as possible. Our city Rec Department has a building by the ice that they open and have coffee, cocoa and a wood stove in for people to dress and get warm. They do a decent job of keeping the ice clean, so for what it is, it's not too bad.
I want to play as much as I can, but past two winters here in MA have been barely cold enough to have a good SAFE freeze on the ponds. I mean it's 36* right now in Boston with a high of 46*....that's no bueno
This year has been okay but it didn't get cold until late December. Last year it really didn't get cold at all. The year before was good but a lot of snow. The year before that too warm. And the year before that it was just freezing cold.
I just want a nice mild winter with 20* temps from mid-Nov through Feb.