I can't believe I'm saying this...

but, please let it be cold. The warmer January weather chose poor timing for the athletes who traveled to Minnesota, all competing to be the last team standing and in possession of the highest honor in pond hockey, the Golden Shovel.

Luckily, mother nature was on their side and the temperatures returned to crisp single digits just in time for the 12th annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (USPHC) (@USPondHockey) at Lake Nokomis sponsored by Labatt Blue.

But as some pond hockey enthusiasts say: you can take the player from the pond, but you can’t take the pond from the player. But how did this all start and what IS it about pond hockey?

Ya Sure, You Betcha

Since the championships are held in Minnesota, what do we know about the people flocking to it? Let's learn some non-serious Minnesota facts. 

You know you grew up in Minnesota when:

  • the local Dairy Queen is only closed from December through February, if at all.

  • you’ve worn shorts and a down jacket at the same time.

  • no matter how much we want them, we don’t get snow days because that’s just how life is here. And we love it.

  • you raced home after school to play hockey in a homemade backyard rink or on a hand-shoveled pond until it was too dark to see the puck and you couldn’t feel your toes.

Now that we are grown adults, are we supposed to just give up on our love of the game? I didn’t think so. So what now?


Pond Hockey History

It all started twelve years ago in 2006 after Fred Haberman saw guys playing outdoor hockey when it occured to him, "Why isn't there some sort of tournament here in Minnesota?" That one question grew what is now the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and this year’s event marks the largest event to date with over 300 teams registered to play in 700 games on 25 rinks throughout Minneapolis.

Not bad.

Because the event has grown so much in popularity, they decided to call in reinforcements from a local Minnesota event management company.



WOW Factor Sports (@WOWFactorSports), a Twin Cities-based full-service sports event planning and management company, specializes in streamlining logistics so that each event’s unique qualities shine. They have a passion for managing the behind-the-scenes details to deliver a superior event experience for audiences that in turn boosts the event partners credibility.


WOW took on running the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and tasked with finding something to do with the banners of past championships, they found themselves in a dilemma. They knew they wouldn’t be using a repeat of the banners with the organization’s original tournament branding but they didn’t want to just throw them away. Knowing there was a better solution out there, WOW began to do some online research which led them to find the Relan web page.


WOW told us they were really excited to learn about Relan’s upcycling services but they were even more thrilled that Relan was based in Minnesota, so close to WOW Factor Sports and the Labatt Blue U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.

WOW came to visit the Relan headquarters in Mendota Heights, MN to learn about the process and possibilities. They knew that by upcycling the banners, it would positively add to the event’s story by showing the pond hockey’s commitment to sustainability which would ultimately help build brand loyalty.


WOW selected to create the UB Chillin Coolers since the product perfectly aligned with the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships’ title sponsor, Labatt Blue, a Belgian-owned Canadian beer company.


WOW was extremely pleased with the finished product and they exceeded their expectations. Jody Delorit of WOW Factor Sports couldn’t wait for fans to take home a piece of USPHC history.

By WOW Factor Sports choosing to repurpose the pond hockey’s banners that would otherwise go to the landfill, they are showing their fans that they are committed to operating in a way that minimizes their environmental impact. 

Relan was honored to support WOW Factor Sports, partner of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. We’ve already heard lots of positive feedback on social media from fans and teams talking about how much they love their one-of-a kind upcycled piece of USPHC history!

If you were lucky enough to grab one of these limited pieces, show us! Tag #Relanbag on Instagram or Twitter.  

The community wants to support businesses that take care of the planet.

What is your plan to build loyal customers? Relan can help you score with your customers and create your own WOW Factor so you can stand out from your competition with quality, eco-friendly marketing products.

It’s simple. Contact us and we’ll help you determine the many ways your company can market with a purpose.


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