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Dates Set For 2015 Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships

06/26/2014, 3:15pm EDT
By USAHockey.com

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 10th annual Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships will take place Feb. 6-8, 2015, it was announced today by USA Hockey. The event will once again be held on Dollar Lake in Eagle River, Wis., where it has been hosted since its inception in 2005.

Special activities and guests will help commemorate the 10th anniversary with further details to be announced in the coming months.

Event registration is expected to begin in late July and users of USA Hockey's Adult Hockey Events app, which is available for download from iTunes and Google Play, will receive an advance push notification with this year’s online registration process and date. That information will also be available the following day on the USA Hockey Adult Hockey Facebook page and usahockey.com.

The Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships has grown significantly since the inaugural year showcased 40 teams on six rinks. In 2014, it included 336 teams across 19 divisions on 30 rinks.

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The Healthy Hockey Lifestyle

03/17/2013, 8:15pm EDT
By Aaron Paitich

Playing hockey can play a big role in staying healthy as an adult

Adult hockey not only promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, it requires it. As adults get older, they increasingly need to emphasize regular exercise and a nutritious diet. There’s no easy way to go about it—but there is a fun, challenging and rewarding option that sticks with you for life:

Hockey.

That’s right. Hockey is part of the perfect prescription for an adults’ health regiment. Just ask Olympian and former NHL player Steve Jensen.

“Physical fitness is something we should all be thinking about as we get older,” says Jensen, a longtime certified USA Hockey coach/official. “There’s no better activity than hockey to stay in shape.”

Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer for USA Hockey, says the positives of playing hockey are contagious.

“Participation in ice hockey provides all the benefits of exercise while building friendships and ensuring a fun time,” says Stuart, who is also the vice-chair of Orthopedic Surgery and the co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Stuart and colleague Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center sketch out specific benefits for hockey players:

  • Prevents excess weight gain and/or maintain weight loss.
  • Boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides, a cominbination that lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
  • Improves muscle strength and boosts your endurance.
  • Relieves stress by helping you have fun and unwind, connect with friends and family, and be part of a team.
  • Involves physical activity that can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.

“Playing adult hockey is a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun,” says Stuart, who also emphasizes maintaining a balanced diet. As for safety concerns, he adds: “The risk of injury is small in no-check, adult hockey games, but players should wear high-quality, well-fitting equipment, including a helmet and facial protection.”

The Minnesota-based Adult Hockey Association is starting to see employers embrace hockey as a health and performance benefit for its workforce. Some businesses are beginning to subsidize hockey registration fees for employees because they feel the activity fits the policy of their wellness programs.

“It’s not a lot, but we’re starting to see more and more trickle in,” says Dave Swenson, the AHA’s secretary treasurer who also serves on USA Hockey’s Adult Council and Minnesota Hockey’s Board of Directors.

Swenson wants this trend to continue growing, not just to see the number of players rise, but to reward players for committing to a healthy lifestyle.

“I’m hoping employers think about that a little more,” Swenson adds. “It’s not just softball leagues anymore. There are recreational hockey opportunities out there for adults.”

Hilary McNeish, a longtime player, ambassador, and current executive director of the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey, says she sees the positive results in women’s hockey every day.

“There are so many benefits,” says McNeish, “but the quote I hear most from ladies is: ‘It’s like working out a lot, but it’s so fun, it doesn’t feel like working out!’”

Aside from the physical health gains, there’s also a mental side to the story that’s special to hockey players.

“There are so many positive experiences that come with it,” adds McNeish. “Being able to play a sport that so many deem difficult is also great for the mind and wonderful for your personal attitude.

“It’s great to see the looks from people when you can say, ‘I play hockey’”

Adult Hockey Options Expanding with Appetite in Nashville

08/18/2014, 12:30pm EDT
By USA Hockey

Q-and-A with Craig MacDonald of Ford Ice Center

10 Reasons We Still Play the Game (and Love Every Minute)

08/18/2014, 11:00am EDT
By Aaron Paitich

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