Sponsor takes one for the team, which goes on to claim 'Just For Fun U35 crown at Pond Hockey Classic

MEREDITH — Sponsoring a pond hockey team can be a painful experience, even if you're not on the ice and your team wins.
That's what Michael Bourgeois found out Sunday when he and his wife, Julie, were watching Broots Magoots, the team sponsored by their restaurant, Giuseppe's Pizzeria-Ristorante, play in semifinal action in the Just for Fun Under 35 bracket of the 5th Annual New England Pond Hockey Classic.
Bourgeois, better known for his guitar playing at the restaurant than his hockey skills, was dinged on his right cheek by an errant puck launched by a member of the opposing team that jumped over the boards, and spent the rest of the game holding a cold, ice-filled compress to his face as he cheered on his team.
''We won some early games by lop-sided scores but we're meeting some good teams today,'' said Bourgeois.
He was rewarded with a 7-5 victory in a game which only got close near the very end, and, later in the afternoon was able to cheer the Magoots, all of whom are originally from the Manchester area, on to a 4-3 win which gave them their second straight Pond Hockey Classic title in their bracket.
''They're a great bunch of guys who stop by our place a lot. When they asked us to sponsor them we were glad to do it. We bought them shirts and we've been working to build a little fan base for them,'' said Bourgeois.
Nate Gagne, team captain, hails from Manchester and is a Trinity High School graduate who has ties to the Lakes Region.
''My brother-in-law lives on Cummings Cove, not that far from right where we're playing,'' says Gagne, who says that this is the Magoots third year playing in the classic, which this year had more than 220 teams taking part.
He and his teammates rolled over their early round opponents and played what they call ''spirited'' hockey along the way.
''It's a great way to get out and have a fun weekend,'' said Ben Courchesne of Boston, who along with his brother, Matt, of Litchfield, now are two-time champions in the pond hockey classic.


CAPTION (Pond Hockey1.2)

Broots Magoots (white tops) defeated the Sweater Kittens (dark tops) 7-5 in the Just for Fun Under 35 semifinal bracket Sunday at the New England Pond Hockey Tournament and went on the win the division with a 4-3 victory in the final. The team is sponsored by Giuseppe's Pizzeria Ristorante of Meredith. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)