CREEDE — It is hard to believe that this year marks the 14th annual Golden Pick Hockey Tournament in Creede and it is just over the horizon. It has been a strange year in the small mountain towns and like other communities, the year was fraught with uncertainty in regard to local events taking place. The good news is 2021 is going to start off with some predictability and one can only hope this sets the stage for the coming year.
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 that Creede is known for. The tournament kicks off the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17 with teams coming in from all over southwestern Colorado. Some parts of the event will be subject to state and local COVID guidelines, but the event is still scheduled to take place.
The event began with two business owners from the Creede area wanting to have some friendly fun among residents during the slow winter months and had now 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 that spices up the chilly, slow winter months in town.
Several years ago, when, while visiting a neighboring bar that Kip Nagy, owner of Kip’s Grill happened across a friend that owned a production company called Pride of Gypsies. After hearing about the steep caldera cliffs and picturesque 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 new warming hut during the hockey tournament. The new 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 night skating.
The ponds are lined with burn barrels to keep players warm and bleachers for cheering 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 from all over the southwestern US to take part in the hockey tournament. Players from all walks of life travel to Creede just to enjoy the laid-back fun tournament that caters to all levels of experience.
The tournament consists of two levels of competition and is set up in a way that ensures each participating team gets to play at least one playoff game by the end. The schedule is known to hockey enthusiasts as a round-robin format with a three-on-three team play. Registration is now open, so be sure to visit www.creedepondhockey.wordpress.com to get signed up.