The holidays always bring people together and one Idaho Falls man is trying to make sure friends have a place to meet every year…on ice.
“Yup, this is our first annual Christmas Classic… we’re gonna try and do one every year and build it up and hopefully we can turn this into a big festival and have some fun with it,” event organizer Cody Nolan explained.
Nolan is hockey a lover and the man behind the Christmas Classic three on three tournament. Held this weekend at the Joe Marmo Wayne Lehto Ice Arena in Idaho Falls, Nolan has big ideas for what the tournament could be in years to come.
“I’m hoping to move from this sheet of ice and bring it outdoors,” he said. “I’m hoping it can get to the point where I’ve got 30 outdoor rinks and we’ve got em full all day long.”
The turnout for the first installation of the event didn’t draw the crowd Nolan expected, but those who showed up had “nothing but fun.”
For Andrew Latham, the three on three style of pond hockey play is unfamiliar, but it’s something he’s been enjoying.
“It’s a little bit different because you don’t have any goalies out here, you just have these pond hockey nets,” Latham explained. “And so I was a little bit hesitant about it at first but it’s a lot of fun, it’s a little more challenging than what you’d expect.”
And Conner Cook, another skater, is just enjoying the time with friends.
“Being around with my buddies, having fun, no one here is taking it too seriously so, this tournament is about having a good time, hanging out with your friends so, that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most,” Cook said.
So what kind of things could you expect to see out on the ice?
“A lot of fast pace, a lot of just laughing, a lot of making fun of guys a little bit, you know,” Cook said. “Some light-hearted fun and there’s gonna be some good moves, there’s gonna be some cool shots that they take.”
But all jokes, and shots aside, these guys want to play again next year.
“Yeah, I’ve had a lot more fun than what I kinda thought I would. So I’d definitely be down to put together a team and play in the future,” Latham said.
And Cook agreed.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I think I could play this, this style of tournament for years.”
They may get to, and Nolan will be the one to thank.
“Hockey’s been my life for 21 years now. I started playing hockey when I was four years old and so I just kinda stuck with it,” Nolan said. “Once I stopped playing, how can I give back to the sport that gave so much to me? And so now here I am.”