Rucinski Construction Wicked Winger pond hockey team members--front row, from left, Sue Bekkala, Nancy Westphal and Jonica Ropiak; back row, from left, Jane Gustafson, Emily Ragan and Lori Polich-- are ready to compete in Norway on Jan. 27-28. (Jim Waisanen photo)
NORWAY—The second annual Pond Hockey Tournament to be held on Hanbury Lake Jan. 27-28 has now added a woman’s division to the fast growing event.
Iron River’s Wicked Wingers, sponsored by Rucinski Construction of the U.P Women’s Hockey League, have broken the ice by registering the first women’s team for the weekend tournament.
Not to be out done by the Wicked Wingers, women’s teams from Iron Mountain and L’Anse are now expected to register and compete for the coveted Pink Stormy Kromer championship women’s hats.
The Wicked Wingers team is made up of a mixture of seasoned hockey veterans and young, energetic, highly skilled players.
Veteran Swedish defense woman Jane Gustafson has been referred to as a female version of Nik Lidstrom in many hockey circles due to her calm and cool mistake-free play on the blue line.
Player-coach Nancy Westphal leads and motivates the ladies squad with many years of hockey knowledge. Role player teammates, silky smooth puck handler Lori Polich and grinder Sue Bekkala, provide the spark to keep the team firing on all cylinders.
Pond hockey fans will be sitting on the edge of their snow banks watching speedster scoring sensations Emily Ragan and Jonica Ropiak bury the puck in the reduced size goals.
“We are excited about being the first woman’s team to register and play in the Norway-Iron Mountain Pond Hockey Tournament” said Westphal.
“We have played in a few pond hockey tournaments in Eagle River, Wis., and always had a great experience, so we thought we would check out the competition in Norway. We hope women regardless of hockey and skating ability follow our lead and sign up and experience the fun, thrills, spills and friendship of pond hockey at Hanbury Lake”
For more information, visit www.Norwaypondhockey.com.