TOWN OF CHENANGO (WBNG) – Around 500 youth hockey players took part in the Binghamton Pond Festival this past weekend.
But the hockey festival isn’t a traditional youth tournament, choosing to keep score and records, instead it is opting for players to just play for the love of the game.
“For our area, this is a staple event for and for hockey as a whole,” said event founder and executive director Tytus Haller. “Kids can come out here, play a little four-on-four, little bit of a different game. [They] don’t have the pressure of winning or losing necessarily. Just come out and enjoy themselves. They’re just here to celebrate the game, enjoy a different thing.”
The warm weather on Sunday created muddy conditions around the rink. But on the ice, players and coaches loved every second.
“It was great. This is our first pond hockey tournament for this group of kids, they had a blast.,” said Jason Engelhart, head coach of the Whitestown (NY) Seamites. “The ice conditions were a little rough yesterday, but today was beautiful.”
Engelhart expressed it was nice to skate and play hockey outside of a rink, and get a unique experience for his players.
“Normally we play inside all the time, and it’s nice just to play in the elements, and get outside and enjoy it,” Engelhart said.
Haller told 12 News he has been approached by parents about keeping score at the event, but has also sided with the bigger social benefits it presents.
“It’s great for the youth organizations locally because they are able to recruit more kids with the activities like this and different staple events like this,” Haller said. “[It] also bringing more kids here from other areas creates more interactions as well.”
A competitive tournament for adults will be held on January 18 and 19. For more information, check out Binghamton Pond Festival’s website here.