Fourteenth Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic returns to North Mankato

More than 50 teams total took part in the 14th annual Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic was held in North Mankato this weekend.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:18 AM CST
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Through wind chill advisories and increasingly cold weather, the Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic saw hundreds of hockey fans young and old take the ice at Spring Lake Park in North Mankato this weekend.

This was the fourteenth rendition of the tournament, which aims to raise money for childhood Leukemia research in honor of Anthony Ford, a nine-year-old hockey fan who died of leukemia in 2006.

More than 50 pond hockey teams came to play over the weekend, and organizers said that it’s been incredible to see the event grow into a staple of southern Minnesota’s hockey community.

“To see our hockey community as well as others coming into our hockey community, all to celebrate Anthony and the game of hockey is just -- [we’re] so appreciative that Mike and Robin, and that legacy, that Anthony lives on for them,” said committee member and youth hockey coach Nate Olsen. “But to see it where it is today is just, it’s awesome and a testament to such a great community that we have here”

Seventeen adult teams participated on Saturday, while 37 youth teams took the ice on Sunday.

The event partnered with other organizations, with Spinners Bar & Grill providing food and the Mayo Clinic provided athletic training in the warming house.

Organizers said that overall the weekend was a success, and stands as a testament to what they love about hockey and its community.

“You see all the smiling faces around and understand that hockey and Minnesotans kind of mix together really well, and to be honest with you, it was, seeing all the faces and the smiling and the kids this is always our fun day and a good culmination of what Anthony would have wanted, a good way to remember him,” reflected Olsen. “And really just those smiles they remind you a lot of Anthony back in the day when he was still here with us so it’s just an awesome experience for us,”