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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pond Hockey features ex-Michigan star

By Matt Mackinder/MiCHO Exclusive

Tommy Haines grew up playing outdoor hockey in northern Minnesota in the early 1980s and when he started making films in 2001, he began to think it would be fun to make a film about hockey, specifically outdoor hockey.

"When the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships began in 2006, I thought that would be the perfect starting point for a film," Haines said. "Three years later, here we are, showing the film all across the U.S."

Haines' film, Pond Hockey, will be shown at the Michigan Theater on Weds. Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m.

The plot to the movie is simple, according to Haines.

"Pond Hockey is the story of the first-ever U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, a tournament created to recapture the purity and energy of outdoor play," said Haines. "About 100 teams came together for the most competitive outdoor tournament ever; we follow two of these teams. In addition to the tournament, we examine the culture and celebrate the nostalgia of pond hockey. The commentary is provided by hockey greats like Gretzky, Broten and Crosby alongside the local rink rats. But when it's all said on done it's about snow falling, freezing toes, mom ringing the dinner bell and playing hockey with your buddies from sunrise to sunset."

There is a Michigan connection as well as former Wolverines' goaltender Willard Ikola gets some screen time in the film.

Ikola is one of the many hockey greats featured in the film and is also a coaching legend in Minnesota. He is also one of the many guys from Eveleth, Minn., that went on to play hockey at Michigan in the '50s where he won two NCAA championships in net for the Wolverines.

"But this film is not really about one town, state or country," added Haines. "It is a film that speaks to all rink rats alike.

"Great films not only entertain, they inspire. While the hockey action in this movie is wildly entertaining, the film is also an attempt to recapture the pond culture and inspire hockey players to get back out on the pond."

To watch the trailer, purchase tickets to the screening in Ann Arbor next Wednesday or for more information on the film, check out the official movie website.

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