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The Great Outdoors

In the early beginnings of ice hockey (as well as ice polo) games were played outdoors on ponds throughout the state. Spectators in the hundreds would come out to the great outdoors to watch advertised amateur and schoolboy games. The most popular venues included Blackstone Pond, Roger Williams Park, Slater Park and York Pond. East Side Skating Club was the first popular outdoor artificial rink in the state which hosted Providence Hockey Club and East Side Hockey Club games through the 1920's. Ice Carnivals where extremely popular (sometimes thousands in attendance) at the Club and Roger Williams Park and Slater Park. Boys, girls and adults competed in skating races and hockey matches.

As hockey became popular in the 1910's and 1920's amateur teams started forming and advertising in newspapers to attract all comers. In 1911 the first Boy's Scout Hockey League in the country was played on York pond, Benedict pond, as well as the Woonasquatucket River. Amateur teams included the Barrington Annawamscots, Manville Montcombs, Morris Heights, and Pawtucket Wanderers. In 1921 Richard J. Dennis Post No. 23 build a rink on their grounds in Edgewood to develop competition between local and Boston area teams. Another, Anthony's Skating Rink, was built in Coventry in 1922 and hosted the Pawtucket Hockey League.

In 1922 Richard J. Dennis Post No. 23 battled in a much publicized series of games with the East Sides at the East Side Skating Rink and Auburn Post on Blackamore Pond. The Blackstone Hockey League was one of the earliest leagues played on Blackstone Pond in 1923. Even the 1926 opening of the R.I. Auditorium didn't interrupt outdoor hockey. In 1931-32 the City Outdoor Hockey League featured 10 teams including Onyeville Rangers, Hillwood Tigers, Blue Hooks, Arlington, Riverside, Mongony's Garage, Manville, Mount Pleasants, Esmond and Conimicut with most hosting on their own ponds. The CYO Hockey League played their first two seasons outdoors (1938-39 and 1939-40).