CREEDE — With 2022 just around the corner, now is the time to mark the calendars and make plans to attend the 15th annual Golden Pick Hockey Tournament in Creede. Now that the weather has finally decided to bring winter to the small mountain town, the Silver Ice Ponds are being prepared for the coming event and open to everyone who wants to ice skate for free.
Tommyknocker Tavern in partnership with Kip’s Grill will be hosting the annual Golden Pick Hockey Tournament at Silver Ice Park underneath the steep caldera cliffs of Creede. The tournament is set for Jan. 15 and 16 with teams coming in from all over southwestern Colorado. Some parts of the event will be subject to state and local COVID guidelines.
The event began years ago with two business owners from the Creede area wanting to have some friendly fun among residents during the slow winter months and has turned into one of the largest pond hockey tournaments in southwestern Colorado. Tommyknocker Tavern and Kip’s Grill came together with a few people at the beginning and allowed it to grow into a full-on hockey event.
Several years ago, while visiting a neighboring bar that Kip Nagy, owner of Kip’s Grill, happened to come across a friend that owned a production company called Pride of Gypsies. After hearing about the picturesque Creede scenery, the company decided to come and film a series of commercials for Carhartt. After filming was completed, a shed that was built for prop purposes was donated by Carhartt to be used as the warming hut during the hockey tournament. The shed now has a permanent home next to the lower pond.
In the years since, the ponds above town have gone from mere recreational ponds to becoming a designated city park, suitably named for Creede’s unique mining history as Silver Ice Park. The City of Creede adopted the ponds during a series of meetings in 2015 and helped with funding that purchased several lights that now line the outer edges of the ponds to allow for late-night skating.
The ponds are lined with burn barrels to keep players warm and bleachers for fans to come and enjoy the two days of friendly hockey fun. The ponds are located at 8,900 feet elevation which adds an additional challenge to the tournament and its players. The views surrounding the rinks add an incentive to those who travel to take part in the hockey tournament.
The tournament consists of two levels of competition and is set to ensure that each participating team gets to play at least one playoff game. The tournament is a round-robin format with three-on-three team play. Registration is now open. Visit www.creedepondhockey.wordpress.com, to sign up.