Let's play some old-fashioned hockey

For the past three years, a team of Minnesota brothers has taken the ice and competed against hockey players who have traveled from as far away as Canada.

For the past three years, a team of Minnesota brothers has taken the ice and competed against hockey players who have traveled from as far away as Canada.

They get so into it, the number on the back of each man's jersey indicates his age.

This scenario is hard to imagine. How often can brothers play on a team or, in fact, be a team?

The Great Lakes Pond Hockey Classic (GLPHC), held Jan. 25-27 at Barkers Island in Superior, will bring a variety of teams together from North America for some old-fashioned hockey.

"It's outside, fresh air ... it's old-time hockey," said Kyle Genereau, a member of the team of brothers.


The tournament, which will be in its fourth year, got its inspiration from the World Pond Hockey Championship held in New Brunswick, Canada.

Eventually the Brunswick fervor headed across the border to Wisconsin.

"There wasn't any (pond hockey tournament) at the time in the United States, we were the first one," said Mike McCoshen, director of the GLPHC tournament.

Pond hockey is not your run-of-the-mill rink hockey. For starters, there are only four players on a team, rather than five.

"It's a different game," McCoshen said. "You can't bang the puck off the board because of snowbanks. The ice is not as smooth, it's a lot rougher. You're outside breathing fresh air, just bringing hockey back to its basics."

The rink size is not the same either. It's about three-quarters of what is normally found at local arenas.

Goalies are also banned from the premises.

One reason for not having a goalie is the difficulty of having one for each team. Another reason is the past.


"It goes back to when I played youth hockey and street hockey," McCoshen said. "You put your skates on and put your pair of boots to mark where the goal was. Nobody had goalies back in those days."

Temperature is another factor.

According to Genereau, ideal temperatures for the event are around 20 degrees.

If temperatures get colder and the wind picks up, skill can only take a player so far at the tournament.

"You really had to love hockey," said Genereau in reference to an experience he had with temperatures at the tournament before.

The maximum amount of teams in the tournament is 60. Since the classic began, 30 teams have signed up each year. This year the numbers are up, with 42 teams already registered.

"We've had teams from as far away as Toronto. The team that won it last year in the open division was from Thunder Bay," McCoshen said. "We have teams from the Madison area, the Eau Claire area, the Twin Cities area -- but primarily northern Wisconsin and Minnesota."

The GLPHC has an open division and a senior division. The open is for anyone who wants to play, while the senior division is for anyone older than 40.


These teams play two 15-minute periods. Every team is guaranteed two night games, which will be played on Friday under lights.

The GLPHC was planning to have a women's division this year, but it did not come to fruition: Only one team entered.

All of the proceeds for the event go to the Superior Amateur Hockey Association.

Close to $36,000 has been raised since the event began three years ago.

"It's probably one of our primary fund-raisers," McCoshen said. "We had some of our funding over the last couple years reduced, some funding from the city (of Superior). That's why we started this, to make up that funding we lost. We're not quite there yet, but each year it's grown."

Schedule of events

The tournament will kickoff at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at Barkers Island. During the opening ceremony Friday, Gopher great John Mayasich will be there to sign autographs.

Saturday, Jan. 26, events will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and events will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27.


News to use

The entry for the tournament is $300. To register for the event, call (715) 394-4899 or (715) 394-6015. One can also go online to to sign-up. Registration closes soon.

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