MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Winter weather arrived just in time for two Twin Cities’ pond hockey tournaments.
The Pond Hockey North American Championships takes place on Lake Minnetonka and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships are at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.
Pond Hockey North American Championships is part of Hockey Blast, a weekend of generous fundraisers centered on the sport.
“Our adult hockey guys love coming out here,” said Denny Loving, Hockey Blast founder.
The tournament features dozens of teams for all ages which benefit local charities, including ICA Food Shelves, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – Twin Cities Chapter, and the ALS Association – Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter.
This year, Hockey Blast has grown into something bigger than just one hockey tournament. Mario Zattoni is one of the reasons why. The 17-year-old and two friends wanted to do something special for Jack Jablonski, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey player paralyzed in a game last month.
“Jack Jablonski was a kid walking around the hallway with a smile on his face every day,” said Zattoni.
The teens couldn’t stand to sit back while Jack recovers from a severe spinal cord injury.
“It really made your heart sink,” Zattoni added.
Mario and Jake went to Facebook to organize a pond hockey tournament. The Benilde-St. Margret’s students invited 30 friends.
The Jack Jablonski Junior Bronze Tournament has now grown to more than 1,200 attending.
Sunday in Excelsior, those at the tournament will be asked to sign Jack’s Pledge, to support doubling the penalty time for a hit from behind during a hockey game.