If I told anyone they were playing shinny in Eagle River, Wisconsin
this past weekend, folks might have given me a really funny look.
WTF? might have been a response. Shinny, as it's sometimes called
in Canada, is another name for pond hockey. The term itself loosely
refers to any form of disorganized ice hockey that is played outdoors.
Hockey that was played up in Eagle River this past weekend was
outdoors, but hardly disorganized.
Shinny, has its origins in Navajo Native American culture about a story
where a stranger challenged a Navajo god to a game of shinny to free
some slaves. You can further research this on the internet if you're
Pond hockey is played outdoors, usually on a lake, pond or any body
of frozen water. The "rink" is about 50-80% the size of a standard NHL
rink and has no boards or glass, with its' borders usually set with snow
banks. Goals are usually hand made, may be as wide as a standard
goal, but in most cases, only as high a hockey puck standing on edge.
There is no set number of players for the game, but is usually 4 on 4
and does not feature a goalie. Thus, more emphasis is placed on skating
and puckhandling and less on shooting and checking. The game is
simple and discourages hard physical contact.
The Fond du Lac Bears ventured North this past Saturday, not nessacarily
to play pond hockey, but to play an exhibition game against the Eagle
River Falcons in their fabled wooden dome.
The Falcons took advantage of home ice and a home crowd and
seized early momentum. That momentum carried Eagle River to a
4-0,first period lead as the Falcons collected goals from #8 Cody Litvinoff,
#22 Derek Tijan, #10 D.J. Drayna and #21 Alex Hausworth. Eagle
River added a goal from #14 Alex Racino in the 2nd frame to build
a 5-0 advantage heading into the final frame.
The Bears never give up though! #47 Kyle Larrivee got the Bears on
the board 57 ticks into the 3rd, taking passes from #10 Cory George
and #25 Ryan Blick to cut the deficit to 5-1. 17 seconds later, it was
Falcons #19 Mike Otto padding the margin back to 5. 2:54 into the
period #16 B.J. Gottsacker tacked on a goal for Eagle River, and at
6:28 into the frame, #14 Alex Racino added his 2nd of the contest.
The Bears hung tough though, as #28 Jake Schultz found twine with
11:13 remaining, as #16 Simon Hedeen collected the assist. Yet on
this night the rally fell short as the Falcons prevailed 8-2 in the
Fond du Lac returns to home ice next Friday and Saturday for big
time show downs with GLHL rivals West Bend Bombers (2/14) and
the Madison Blues (2/15). The Bears thus far:
9-4-0 (18 points) League 12-6-0 Overall
Elvis -- "the Growl" of the Fond du Lac Bears