Everyone loves a good game of pond hockey. The uneven ice, the snow drifts (a goalie’s best friend), just a fun gathering of friends, and – of course – the hot chocolate afterward (spiked or non-spiked, your choice). If you grew up playing hockey, these are likely some of your fondest memories of the game. Who doesn’t love that?
The thieves of fun at the U.S. Park Police don’t, apparently.
Hockey At The National Mall?
Today, Barstool Sports posted a video of a group of friends in Washington, D.C., who got together during a particularly cold snap (for the D.C. area, anyway) and decided to lace ’em up for a little while and go out for a quick tilt on the frozen-over reflecting pool at the National Mall.
The incident actually happened in 2019, but it got a lot of attention yesterday on Barstool’s social media accounts.
Watching the video, by all accounts, everyone seemed to be having a great time. Until that is, the Park Police showed up – with a helicopter! – to literally blow the players off of the ice and drive them away.
As you can see, at first the players looked happy and cheered the helicopter on, perhaps thinking it was there to give them a nice salute for a spirited game. That didn’t last long though, as the helicopter kept approaching closer and closer.
Eventually, it caused such a dust-up of wickedly blowing snow that the players had no choice but to turn their backs to protect themselves and leave the ice. Their cheers soon became expletives as they realized the chopper wasn’t going to go away until they did.
Pilot Investigated For Unsafe Behavior
When the incident first occurred back in 2019, many people doubted that it was real. However, WUSA-9 in Washington, D.C., confirmed it in a report with some interesting follow-up information. Apparently, the Park Police themselves were none too happy with the pilot for what he did.
According to the statement, skating on the Reflecting Pool is illegal, but using a helicopter to blow players off of the ice isn’t exactly the preferred enforcement approach. The statement continues to explain, “We have initiated an internal investigation into the actions of our pilot.”
We do not know the results of that investigation, but given what we know in 2024 about how government agencies protect their own, we’re guessing nothing happened to the pilot.
The incident also begs the question: WHY is skating illegal on the Reflecting Pool? There’s really no reason for it to be. This writer has lived in the D.C. area for a few decades. We remember when people could have street festivals and skateboard outside the White House. In the early 20th century, skating was freely permitted on the Reflecting Pool. There was even a proposal in the 1960s to turn it into an official rink in the winter, but it was never approved.
Sadly, in post-9/11 Washington, D.C., “fun” is almost a foreign language word.
Social Media Reacts
Many people on social media did not seem to be aware that the incident happened in 2019, but they still had some great — and funny – reactions.
Hear, hear … on both statements.
It’s not like there’s any national security risk here (unless one of those players was Russian?). As for safety, the Reflecting Pool is only 18 inches deep. It’s not like someone is very likely to get swept under the ice.
But this was our favorite reaction of all, by far:
OK, now THAT’S funny!
In any event, we hope the U.S. Park Police have learned their lesson not to buzz people with a helicopter and put them in more danger than skating on the ice ever could.
As for the players, with the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards likely moving to Virginia soon, maybe that will free up the Caps’ former home at Capital One Arena for residents to play a little pick-up game once in a while.
It won’t be pond hockey though.