Former UNH and NHL star praises pond hockey tournament
By DAN SEUFERT
Sunday News Correspondent | February 01. 2014 9:07PM
PJ Hunt, left, from Franklin, Mass., battles with Derek Becker, with Stonedam Islanders, a UNH Alumni team from Meredith, during the annual New England Pond Hockey Classic on Saturday, held at Meredith Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Granite Staters may remember him as a star at the University of New Hampshire, where as a senior he scored 22 goals and had 30 assists in the 1978-79 season. He is also remembered as a Boston Bruin - particularly for his 21 goals and 18 assists as a forward in 1982-83 - or for his time as a Pittsburgh Penguin.
But on Saturday, Bruce Crowder was among more than 1,400 amateur hockey players taking part in the fifth annual New England Pond Hockey Classic on Meredith Bay. There, 225 teams met on 22 rinks to play the game, as he put it, "like it's supposed to be played."
"Just look around out here today. All you see are friends, families, people hugging," said Crowder, whose son Scott founded the tournament. "This is the best way to play the game. Everybody has a blast. It's just fun."
"No, not at all. When we grew up, there was no Nintendo or nothing. We had two channels on the TV ... that was mom just kicking us out of the house (to play), and we all wanted to be pros," he said.
Crowder said the joy of playing in the Pond Hockey Classic is that, in conventional hockey terms, "you're not shooting for the upper corner (of the net), and there's no (goalie's) water bottle up there."
"Really," Crowder said, "this is a novelty."
Crowder's proud of his son's achievement in organizing and running the tournament. But mostly, "I just love coming here to play with these people," he said.