Mad City Pond Hockey returns for 2nd year

Hockey stick, puck, skates

This time last year, temperatures were 20 to 30 below zero, but they didn’t keep hockey fans away from the Mad City Pond Championships.

The Mad City Pond Hockey Championships returned to Vilas Park Lagoon this weekend.

Organizers have prepared for months to make sure the groundwork was set by this weekend. They put the finishing touches on the nine rinks on Friday, setting up 3-foot nets and getting their homemade Zambonis ready.

“For one weekend out of the year we want to bring the whole hockey community down here and get together and have a blast,” organizer Brad Mastenbrook said.

Mastenbrook, who coached hockey in the area for nearly 20 years, said the event showcases Madison’s lakes and reminds hockey fans of more carefree days.

“Like it was when you were out on the ice ‘til late at night and your mom told you had to be home at 10 o’clock and you’re playing under the light. So it’s a blast out here,” Mastenbrook said.

Mastenbrook worked with Rich Kerns to put on the event, but the original idea came from the Kerns family.

“My sons Mitch and Jaime and Charles said, ‘Why don’t we do our own event?'” Kerns said.

Kerns and all three of his sons have played hockey. They already had the equipment to put on the tournament since Kerns owns Bucky’s Rentals.

Fifty-three teams signed up for the weekend event. Pond hockey does not require referees or goalies and uses a shorter net.

Kerns described the game as “free-flowing hockey.”

“It is special because, you know, you don’t have a coach standing over you telling you to play a certain way — you just go out and play hockey and have fun,” Kerns said.
The championships take place this weekend on Vilas Lagoon and Lake Wingra.

Money raised will go toward the UW Carbone Cancer Center for pancreatic cancer research.