USA Hockey Magazine

March 2017

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E N D BOA R DS 40 // MARCH 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Passion For The Game Continues To Drive Ford "What other sport can you play at our age where you go as hard as you possibly can against another team and then 15 minutes later you're in the beer tent swapping stories?" g With Bill Ford we play with and against. Over the years, we've got to know a number of teams and we really look forward to seeing these guys year after year. We look forward to playing against them on the ice and then we look forward to having a beer with them once the game is over. What other sport can you play at our age where you go as hard as you possibly can against another team and then 15 minutes later you're in the beer tent swapping stories? I love that about pond hockey. This game attracts the best people. In general, hockey players are great guys. It's rare that you meet a hockey player who isn't, and those guys get weeded out pretty quickly. At the end of the day, hockey people are very honorable people, by and large. They'll trash talk you but they'll also give you the shirt off their back. It's a great fraternity. Hockey is all about trusting your teammates. It's also about being unselfish, and that translates to other walks of life. Those same qualities translate very well to the business world. I wish we had more of that hockey mentality in the business world. I think we'd be an even stronger country if that were the case. Being out there on the ice really helps me take my mind off of work. I can't be thinking about Ford Motor Company or the Detroit Lions. If I do, I'm in a snow bank pretty quickly. I come back from this weekend feeling incredibly refreshed and ready to sign up for next year's tournament. And as long as my body holds out, I'll keep doing this. P y parents had a house on Lake St. Clair in Michigan when I was growing up. I remem- ber the lake would freeze in the winter, and I would go out after school and play pond hockey. We would set up some wooden stakes as goals and just play. I loved it. I think I was a Squirt the first time I played organized hockey. I also played in high school but that was it. I wasn't good enough to play in college and didn't play for many years. Years later I told some people at work that I used to play and they said that I should come out. I intial- ly said no but they eventually talked me into it. I didn't exactly set the world on fire, but I didn't embarrass myself, either. That really got me back into it. It made me wonder why I stayed away for so long. It's just a great, great game. It wasn't long after that we signed up for our first pond hockey tourna- ment, and we've been playing ever since. To me it's about as much fun as you can have. Just getting away with the guys is great. We have such a great time. We've been playing at the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships with the same group of guys since the tournament began 12 years ago. We just love it. The people of Eagle River, Wis., are just fantastic. And of course USA Hockey does a great job. It's such a well-run tournament. I hope all the players appreciate how much hard work goes into it because we play in other tourna- ments and this is the best. Pond hockey is a totally different game than conventional hockey. The elements—the wind, sun and ice conditions—play a huge role in how the game is played. You can't stick handle like you normally do, and cross-ice passes are very risky. It really is a different game but a really fun game. My teammates and I were talking about how crazy is it that at our age that we still get butterflies in our stomachs before a game. That says something about how much we enjoy it. We'll find ourselves looking at the matchups and studying the brackets. Obviously the whole world doesn't care what we do up here, but it's important to all of us. I think the best part about being here is the great group of people (Editor's Note: As USA Hockey celebrates its 80th anniversary, we have asked some of the biggest names in the game, from administrators to players to hockey-loving celebrities, to share some of their thoughts about the growth of the game in the United States. This month we look back at a 2012 conversation with Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford.) M PHOTO BY Jon Shields

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