Highway to Hockey
Commuting down US highway 63 and across interstate 70 is a prominent part of being a hockey family living in Columbia, a town whose only ice rink exists when Stephens Lake freezes over.
The 62 year-old Washington Park Arena in Jefferson City is the sole ice rink between the Kanas City and St. Louis hockey markets.
"Participants from Columbia can make up 30-50% of travel youth hockey players in a given year” according to a 2021 joint study about the ice rink by Firland Management and JC Parks department.
The Lamonds—John, Colleen, Olivia, 9 and Declan, 6 are a big part of the Mid-Missouri Tigers community.
John is the president of the youth hockey organization and a coach. Colleen acts as a team manager. Declan plays in the Mite level (ages 6-8), and Olivia plays in the Squirt level (ages 9-10).
John Lamond grew up with the sport in Truro, Nova Scotia and played for St. Mary’s University’s hockey team in Halifax. He moved to Columbia in 1997 and starting coaching youth hockey in Jefferson City. In 2002, he became the head coach of MU’s club team. He built strong relationships with the players over his 15 year tenure and was asked to be in the wedding of one.
Colleen Lamond grew up skating on ponds and parking lots frozen over by the local fire department in Southbury, Connecticut. Lamond played field hockey at Virginia Commonwealth University. She moved to Columbia in 2004 and now works as an athletic director for MU. The couple married in 2008.
In 2011, John Lamond worked both has head coach and president of the Missouri America Collegiate Hockey Association until 2017 when he stepped down to focus more on his own little skaters.
Together, Colleen and John raise their kids through a life of travel hockey.
The kids have an hour to settle down after school, grab a snack or watch tv in the basement filled with hockey memorabilia: photos of Wayne Gretzky, Sydney Crosby's Golden Goal, and a jersey dedicated to Coach Lamond signed by the MU hockey team.
Colleen calls that's its time for hockey and they sprint up stairs. They pile their sticks and bags into the car and pick up John on the way. The whole family commutes the thirty-minute drive to Jefferson City for practices twice a week.
Declan and Olivia often eat their dinner in the car while watching a movie such as finding Nemo or sprawled across a bench in the locker room.
The Lamonds wake up early on the weekends for the nearly 30 games for each kid from September to February. Often their schedules will take them separately across the state and Declan and John will go to a game in Springfield or Kansas City, and Olivia and Colleen will drive up to Jefferson City or St. Louis for her game.
They spend so much of their time with hockey that life often revolves around it. It’s where they have tough moments after getting knocked down on the ice and skate back up with rosy cheeks, runny noses and tears. It’s in the locker room that Olivia shows her friends her missing tooth. It’s on the drives back from the rink that Declan and John talk about the meaning of consequences.
The family sacrifices the time and energy to commute in order to be fully invested in a sport that they love.