Palmer Lake ready for an outdoor foundation hockey game between Lewis-Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain
PALMER LAKE — The reasoning behind Lewis-Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain playing in a base hockey game this weekend is pretty simple. Teams want to rally their communities around their teams.
That’s the goal of athletics anyway.
But this particular base game is going to have a bit of an old-school feel to it. It will take these kids back to the roots of ice hockey and how they may have enjoyed the game as kids.
Teams have been working for months to prepare Palmer Lake for a baseline pond hockey game between the two schools. LP coach Scott Bradley, a 1995 Air Academy graduate and former Air Force Academy player under Frank Serratore, prepared a sheet of ice to hold two teams and a handful of officials for a battle on the ‘pond.
“We started this effort about three months ago,” Bradley said. “We worked with the town of Palmer Lake, with Mayor (Bill) Bass and his team and they were big supporters from the start just to have a high school hockey game in Palmer Lake to bring the community together, it was the vision. Really executing the vision is the next part.
This execution will take place Tuesday evening at 6:05 am when the teams enter the ice. Since the match is on an unregulated ice surface, it must be a baseline match, which means it will not count in terms of official rating and RPI, but Lewis-Palmer can charge admission and use the game as a fundraiser.
“It’s a grassroots game and acts as a fundraiser for our team because we’re a self-funded District 38 team,” Bradley said. “We invite as many people as possible to come out and see an outdoor hockey game under the lights on a cool, but not freezing, night.
The warm winter weather made the idea of an outdoor game somewhat tricky. But the work Bradley and his team have done to establish a solid base of ice on Palmer Lake will hold up through Tuesday’s game.
Even so, it won’t take any risks when it comes to player safety. At the same time, six players from each team will be on the ice, as well as some officials. Bradley sets the foundation of the ice at a good four to five inches and even with warmer temperatures expected Monday and Tuesday during the day, the foundation will be strong enough to hold up throughout the game.
Crews will always take extra precautions to ensure safety, such as keeping benches off the surface and on the shoreline of the pond just to minimize weight and foot traffic.
The game will consist of two 25-minute timeout periods and will be played under “Pond Hockey Rules”. For example, it will have a smaller (lower) net and penalties will result in the offending team’s goaltender being removed from the ice, leaving a 5-on-5 situation, but with an open net. Also, the player committing the penalty will not be allowed on the ice.
The look and feel of the game will be different than a traditional high school hockey game, but the purpose of the game is very much in line with high school sports values. Lewis-Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain hope to promote their teams and games in their respective communities in a fun and different light.