Old Weasels teach new tricks at NA Pond Hockey Tournament
The name across the front of their jerseys reads “Old Weasels,” but don’t let that fool you, these guys can skate.
At the North American Pond Hockey Championships on Excelsior Bay last weekend, players came in all shapes and sizes and all genders and ages.
The Old Weasels are a 50-and-Over men’s team comprised of youth hockey coaches, who decided they could play the game as well as they could teach it.
As they were playing on one rink Saturday, Jan. 26, girls they had coached in the past were playing on an adjacent rink.
So where did they come up with the name Old Weasels?
“When we were coaching the girls, we would say, ‘Alright, you weasels, get going,’” said Bruce Lyall, a forward for the Old Weasels. “It was a term of endearment.”
Lyall, who used to live in Edina before becoming a Shorewood resident, played collegiate hockey at the Division III level for the University of New Hampshire at Keene.
“We coached our girls when they were growing up and always had a good time doing it,” he said. Pond hockey became the natural extension of the dads’ commitment to hockey.
In their game on the 26th, the Old Weasels outmaneuvered Up Nort 7-4.
Pond hockey is a game of skill that requires good stickhandling and passing. Instead of shooting at a net, players try to stuff the puck through holes in wooden boxes at the end of the rink. The boards are short boards, and a puck kept close to the ice can be banked off the boards.
Both teams looked a bit winded after the game, which featured non-stop action. Skaters like Lyall and Bryan Price made it hard for Up Nort to keep up with the pace.
Asked how he still skates so well past the age of 50, Lyall replied, “Hockey helps you to age well.”
It also helps that the Old Weasels had a fish house on the lake all weekend. No one had a better place to warm up as the temperatures stayed in the low teens Saturday with an accompanying windchill factor.
“The post-game fun is what we’re here for,” said Old Weasels veteran Doug McDougal.
McDougal is a man who will play pond hockey anywhere, anytime, at the drop of a hat.
“I played in Bloomington city leagues growing up,” he said. “Then I started playing intramurals and later joined some bar league teams,” he said.
The joys of skating, passing and scoring are still the same as when he started playing the game more than 40 years ago. McDougal agrees with his teammates on the Old Weasels – there’s no reason hockey can’t be a lifetime sport.