By Matt Blanchette
Older hockey players will say the lakes just don't freeze like they used to in Rhode Island, but that's not a problem in New Hampshire. One Rhode Island team makes the annual pilgrimage to Lake Winnipesaukee for the old fashioned sports of pond hockey.
Tthere are no boards... it's uneven.... and a maybe even a little bumpy... but ice is ice... and for many... the sports of hockey begins and is nurtured not in a rink, but on a pond.
"You can go indoors to play hockey anywhere in the country. Outdoors there are only certain places you can. It's how it's meant to be played," said Scott Crowder, the founder of the Pond Hockey Classic in New Hampshire.
Tom Fecteau and Chris Lambert are two members of the Rhode iIland Rangers, a team from East Providence and seekonk that having been playing together since they were children.
"We used to go out on the pond and play hockey for hours and hours half the time. You didn't even get tired. no matter what because it was just fun," Fecteau said.
Said Lambert: "It's like reliving your childhood. Igrew up playing hockey with these guys. One of them is my brother in law. We have been playing together since we were 7 years old."
They are in Meredith, New Hampshire for a good old fashioned pond hockey tournament.
The pond hockey classic is mass sea of humanity with over 200 teams playing in 14 divisions on 20 rinks that take up the size of about 6 football fields.
The Rangers won the over 40 division two years ago and were on a quest to do it again this year, but for them it is more about the relationships than the trophies.
"You meet new people. A lot of guys you see every year. It's like one big hockey family," Fecteau said.
"It is pretty unique that we still play together 40 years after we first started playing hockey. It is the same group of guys. we play at home two or three times a week and it's a lot of fun," Lambert said.
The Rangers needed some help to make the final four and wouldn't you know it, they got it from the puck huggers., a team from Barrington.
The Rangers lost in the semi's this year, but they will be back again next year.