There are only so many options for playing hockey.
You need a sheet of ice, which comes at a cost, or the weather needs to be ideal for pond hockey. Street hockey is always an option, but it can be a pain unless you have the perfect setup or live on a quiet street.
So when I was first introduced to Hockey Sauce Kit, I couldn't have been more thrilled. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of backyard hockey fun that previously was impossible or impractical.
In short, Hockey Sauce Kit is a hockey version of corn hole. Two small sheets of synthetic ice lie on the ground about 20 feet apart with a small net attached at each end. The goal is to shoot a saucer pass—a pass where the puck floats through the air like a flying saucer—into the opposite net.
A "sauce" that lands directly in the net earns you 3 points. If it bounces off the synthetic ice or post, you earn 1 point. Games are typically played to 11 or 21 with one or two people per team and four shots per turn.
The full kit comes with two synthetic ice boards and two foldable nets that can be opened and attached to the board in a matter of seconds. The posts of the net simply slide onto rubber pegs, similar to how a hockey goal is anchored to the ice.
I tested the party kit, which comes with four plastic pucks. My backyard is relatively small, so I was thankful that I could play without worrying about causing too much destruction. That said, on my first attempt I fired the puck into my neighbor's garage, because the plastic pucks are significantly lighter than a standard 6-ounce puck.
I consider myself above average when it comes to "saucing." However, my "sauces" were more like "knuckle pucks" and my aim was way off for the first 10 or 15 minutes. It was especially frustrating when my wife, who has held a hockey stick no more than five times in her life, scored on her first attempt.
However, I got the hang of it and was sniping the net fairly easily—although nothing like the guys in the Hockey Sauce Kit videos.
The boards held up well and the nets performed exactly as expected. The ramp on the net did flip up a few times when I played with regular pucks—which I preferred—but this was a quick fix and didn't take away from the experience.
Although it's primarily advertised as a game, regularly using the Hockey Sauce Kit could theoretically improve essential hockey skills, such as making saucer passes (obviously), stickhandling and hand-eye coordination. You can also get creative and try your best trick shots, which may not have a ton of skill transfer but the cool factor will be sky high.
I appreciated small details of the system. Each net has a carrying strap and the boards have handles for easy portability. You can even take the nets off and use them for street or pond hockey if you don't have a goalie, as is shown in the video below.
The only drawback is that it is fairly challenging. I can't say how successful a game would be with friends who lack hockey experience. But if you have some buddies who play hockey, then the Hockey Sauce Kit is a must-have item.
Visit HockeySauceKit.com for more info.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock