Hockey on Dollar Lake: Players gather for timeless tradition - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Hockey on Dollar Lake: Players gather for timeless tradition

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EAGLE RIVER (WAOW) -

Pond hockey. Many call it "hockey: the way it's supposed to be played".

Outdoors. In freezing temperatures. Using a shovel instead of a zamboni to clear the ice.

"It's just the best, purest form of hockey," Scott Aldrich, manager of USA Adult hockey, said.

A frozen lake in Eagle River has been transformed into a hockey lover's paradise. Here, players gather to compete on ice 20 inches thick. All for a keg that's been transformed into a trophy and a chance to take your team photo in front of an inflatable beer bottle.

"We have people from 30 states here," Aldrich said. "They come into this small community and they love coming here. It's the journey."

Some journeys are longer than others. Like the Orange County Outlaws, who came all the way from California and have played together for 35 years.

"For those of us who grew up in Canada and the Eastern States, we all grew up playing pond hockey. And then we all started playing ice hockey together in Southern California," said Brian Woods, member of the Outlaws.

"This is our 5th year in a row coming here and the first year we were here, we walked out and couldn't believe what we saw. We made a pact that we will always come back and be here every year."

There are a couple of differences between indoor hockey and outdoor pond hockey. For one the ice isn't as smooth and the net is a lot smaller.

"The ice isn't as good as far as passing the puck. Skating, it's a lot harder. The puck bounces everywhere," Woods said.

But the novelty and the camaraderie of outdoor hockey is worth the trouble. And winning helps too.

The Powervar team from Chicago captured one of the "over 50" crowns. Proof that you're never too old for a timeless tradition.

"It's great. This is our third year playing up here, it's always a lot of fun," said George Lannert, member of the Powervar team.

"The first year we made it to the semifinals. Last year we left a little earlier. This year, we're taking it all and it feels great. We played hockey together, some of us for 40 years. I mean the ice is a little different from what we're used to most of the time but it feels great. Great fun."

Lannert says the trick is to keep playing. Something they'll keep doing on Dollar Lake.

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