Pond Hockey tournament to be held on Waukewan

Lake Waukewan in Meredith has plenty of ice and is already supporting ice fishing shacks and a small hockey rink. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

MEREDITH — "When you can't change the wind, adjust your sails," said author H. Jackson Brown Jr. That's a lesson well-learned by Scott Crowder, founder of the New England Pond Hockey Classic. Ice has been very slow to form on Lake Winnipesaukee's Meredith Bay this winter, and it doesn't look like there will be enough ice to host the seventh annual event at its typical. Crowder announced yesterday that the popular and growing three-day tournament will be held less than a mile away, on Lake Waukewan, where there's plenty of solid ice.
The 2016 New England Pond Hockey Classic will be held Feb. 5 through 7. More than 250 teams of players are expected to participate.
"We have official word from Mother Nature that the 2016 event will be on Waukewan," Crowder said yesterday. He had hoped that the recent cold weather would finally freeze the surface of Lake Winnipesaukee, especially Meredith Bay, but high winds prevented ice formation.
"Looking at the temperatures this week, we thought we'd be closer than we are by now," he said. Nearly all of Meredith Bay is still open water, leaving little hope that there will be at least 10 inches of ice by the time the teams arrive. Fortunately, it's a much different story on the smaller Lake Waukewan.
"It's a tale of two lakes," said Crowder.
On Waukewan, "we're approaching that 10 inches of ice pretty quick."
Crowder has had to move his tournament before. Poor ice conditions forced the event to be held on Waukewan in 2012, so Crowder is familiar with what needs to happen to pull this event off.
"It's nice to have the plan B alternative," he said, adding that with so many teams coming from out of the area, changing the date of the event would be a last-case scenario.
While located just on the other side of downtown Meredith from Meredith Bay, Waukewan has a couple of hurdles that the usual location doesn't. The first is that there's no large-scale parking facilities nearby, so all participants and spectators will have to park at a designated remote lot and ride a shuttle to the tournament.
Additionally, Lake Waukewan is the water supply for the town of Meredith, and as such carries more restrictions that does Meredith Bay. For Crowder, that means no fires on the ice, no dogs, no glass bottles, no littering and no vehicles.
"We're not putting anything on the ice past our rinks," he said. He is grateful to Middleton Building Supply, which is allowing the event to use its property to locate the tournament village, which will include vendors and other necessary facilities. Without that business's help, Crowder said the event might not be possible.
Since its founding in 2010, the Pond Hockey Classic has become a highlight of the year, not just for hockey players but also for local residents who enjoy watching the game played in its purest form – outside and on natural ice.
"We want everyone to come down and experience the event, just like when it is on Meredith Bay," said Crowder.

Belmont Police arrest one in alleged car theft

BELMONT — Police charged a Shaker Road man with a number of Class A misdemeanors yesterday after determining he was the person who allegedly took a car that was parked on Concord Street on Jan. 13, crashed it, and then reported it, allegedly without disclosing his role in the theft.

Paul Noyes, 21, was charged with conduct after an accident, which is for leaving the scene of an accident; driving after his license has been revoked or suspended; taking a motor vehicle without the owner's consent; filing a false report of an accident, which is that he reported the crash as something that happened on his road; and for filing a false report to law enforcement.

Noyes is also charged with criminal mischief, which means that if he is convicted the court can order restitution to be paid to the owner or the insurer of the car.

Lt. Richard Mann said Noyes was released on personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on March 3.

McDonald's honoring gilford volleyball champions (476)

GILFORD — Members of the undefeated Gilford High School volleyball team will be treated to a free breakfast at McDonald's on Union Ave. in Laconia this Saturday morning.
The volleyball team finished with a 20-0 mark, marking its 15th Division II state title in the last 21 years under coach Joan Forge.
"The team is very excited about being treated. We feel like celebrities," said Forge, who says that the team will arrive at the restaurant at 8:30 a.m. wearing their championship shirts and jackets.
Radio station WEMJ will be on hand to broadcast its weekend sports program starting at 9 a.m. and will interview Forge and players on the team.
Forge, who has been coaching at Gilford since 1984, said it was the first time that Gilford has ever had to go five sets to win a championship game and credited a core group of seniors, including Capt. Jordan Dean, Maddie Harris and Brooke Beaudet with providing the focus and determination Gilford needed to win.
''We came really close last year and the team put in a lot of off-season training to prepare for this season,'' said Forge.
She said it was good battle against Somersworth and the team proved its true mettle after the Hilltoppers tied the match at two sets apiece.
''We had to play a lot of defense, but we were perfect in serving, going 115 for 115 in five games,'' said Forge, whose team won the fifth set 15-8 as Maddie Currier served up six straight points.
Gilford volleyball won nine straight state championships from 1999 to 2007.
Forge was selected as Division II coach of the year and Jordan Dean was named Division II player of the year.
McDonald's spokesman Larry Johnston said that the restaurant is pleased to to be able to honor the Gilford girls and is inviting people from the community to take pictures with the team and give them their personal congratulations.
Forge said that on Sunday, January 24 she will be running the 5th Annual Amy Annis Volleyball Tournament. Annis was a member of the 1995 state championship team and died four years ago at the age of 32 to breast cancer.
"I have organized this tournament each year as a promise to Amy and her family. Amy attended the first tournament five years ago. All proceeds go to the Amy Annis Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to a Gilford graduating senior every year, and also to the American Cancer Society," said Forge.
She said 16 teams enter the tournament each year and each pay a $100 entry fee in the event which is a co-ed recreational tournament for players high school age and adults and is played on four courts in the Gilford Middle School and High School gymnasiums.
She said that many alumni come home for the weekend to play in the tournament and that Saturday's breakfast is a good way to kick off the weekend.