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Pond Hockey in Hingham

By Nick Sneath
[One of the Hingham High School '09 gang that founded the Pond Hockey Club in 2006]

Skating on Cushing PondLeather creaks as laces tighten, skates cut deep into the ice, sticks make contact with the puck and each other, snow shovels clear a rink. These are the sights and sounds of winter for many in Hingham. Every year, after a few cold weeks and some tentative steps out onto the ice, skaters of all ages gather on our ponds to take part in the (seemingly) ancient tradition of pond hockey.

On even the most frigid days of our absurdly long winters, ponds around Hingham heat up with intense competition. Pond hockey is the ultimate celebration of amateur athletics. While deftly controlling a small object with a long stick, and moving at high speeds on top of two metal blades may at first seem to be the world’s least accessible sport, pond hockey takes words like experience, skill, inherent athletic ability and helmets, then just tosses them right out the window and into a garbage dumpster. Those are words that belong at Pilgrim Arena, not Cushing Pond. Rather, pond hockey is more about friendship, teamwork, good times, inexperience, and some good-natured trash talk. You’re not a great player? No one cares. You need to borrow a stick? Somebody’s got one lying around. You’ve never skated before? We’ll laugh with you when you fall and help you back up. Inclusion is the name of the game and the driving force behind this winter pastime.

A good day of pond hockey begins with finding the right venue. If all ponds are free of snow and known to be frozen, Cushing Pond is the place to go. It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s in the middle of town, and there are always people willing to play a nice pick-up hockey game. There is literally room for everyone at Cushing. However, during winters such as this past one when the ponds are generally loaded with snow, it’s better to pick a smaller area. Practically any other pond in Hingham is better to go to on a snowy day, and chances are you live near one of them. Besides a snow shovel, you really only need a moderately sharp pair of skates, a stick that is around your size, and a round puck to get started. Whether you were varsity captain in high school or you’ve never set foot on ice before, the fun-filled and spirited atmosphere surrounding any good game of pond hockey is infectious and impossible to resist.