This weekend hockey players from Beijing and beyond will gather for the fifth annual Pond Hockey Tournament. To find out more we talked to the tournament’s founder, Curtis Dracz, and asked him where the idea came from.
“It’s a tradition of the Beijing hockey community to skate on lakes and ponds,” he told us. “So I decided to set up an event, a one day activity which would bring together guys from local leagues, players from out of town, and families, to support the growth of hockey in the city.”
“The challenge comes though when global warming has had an effect on the temperature in Beijing, and Houhai no longer freezes in midwinter. It’s frozen now, but I couldn’t ask people to skate on it.”
So when and where is this year’s event?
“It kicks off on Friday January 13, when 10 teams from out of town arrive. Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) have built a rink outside, so eight games will take place there on Friday. Pie Squared will be providing the food, and the Hockey Bar will be supplying the drinks.”
“Then on Saturday we’ll be at the China Millennium Monument, just to the west of Tiananmen. There’s three rinks, two indoor and one outdoor, and the remaining 38 games will take place there. The Irish Volunteer will be laying on breakfast and lunch, and Oasis Hospital will provide medical services. It’ll be a full day of hockey, music and fun, which showcases the lifestyle, how we participate in the sport.”
“The end goal is never winning or the trophy, it’s always about making new friends, and promoting hockey in China.”
Photos: courtesy of Curtis Dracz