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Lake Tahoe Underwater Hockey : the project of a lifetime

Published on 2nd January 2023

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Which underwater hockey player hasn’t dreamed of a place dedicated to his sport ? A place where he could do what he loves every day at any time ? A fantasy that Lyndon Rive, a US national team player, is realizing on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

This is the video that stunned the underwater hockey world in late 2022. Shared on the Facebook account of New Zealand international Jesse Hocking, Introducing Tahoe Underwater Hockey has already achieved excellent numbers with almost 3000 views in just two weeks. Lyndon Rive, a Club Puck player in California, presents the project he created with his wife, Madeleine, a world champion with their native country, South Africa. A facility entirely dedicated to underwater hockey on the shores of Lake Tahoe and soberly named : Lake Tahoe Underwater Hockey.

Five attempts and almost ten years of struggling

It took Lyndon literally five tries to make his plans a reality. The first time was about eight years ago, near his former home in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I was looking for a property where I could build a fairly large pool at a price that wasn’t too high.” He thought he’d find his match in some unusual buildings, to say the least : churches. “They were on sale for like a dollar, but the facade had to remain the same.” The project didn’t happen, but that didn’t stop the entrepreneur, who saw an opportunity in an abandoned pool in Redwood City. “I approached the city and said I was going to redo the pool, invest a considerable amount of money in the infrastructure […] it was completely rundown, destroyed.” After great difficulty in getting the necessary permits and with communication problems with the city, Lyndon gave up and turned to the Napa Valley a few years later.

No major difficulties to report, the land was purchased and the plans completed, everything seemed to finally be going well for the Rive couple. However, not everything can be controlled, especially not nature. The Napa fires devastated the valley and damaged one of the other Rive properties. Inevitably, after such an event and despite the fact that the fire did not affect his planned underwater hockey complex, Lyndon decided to sell the land on which he intended to build it because he was afraid that another fire would break out. “The complex was in the middle of the woods, so it was beautiful, but exposed to fire from all sides.

For the next attempt, he crossed the border to the Nevada side of Genoa where a golf course attracted his attention. “Negotiations were long and in the end we didn’t agree with the owner.” A few miles away, on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Lyndon and Madeleine finally found what is now their land. “Land for sale that is suitable for this kind of program comes along once every 60 years. It doesn’t exist.” This time the negotiations turned out to be short, within a day the deal was done. “I ended the negotiations in 30 minutes. I knew that half an hour later someone else would have taken it.” And so the Lake Tahoe Underwater Hockey project was born. “This property allows me to develop an indoor complex with an underwater viewing area.

Technology at the service of a major ambition

The original goal of the Rive project was to build a regulation size pool and buy a club-house, the acquisition of this property has allowed to develop something even more ambitious. Not one, but two pools will be built. The first, an outdoor pool, will be ready in February 2023 and the other, an indoor pool, in 2025. The outdoor pool will be heated, with anchors in the ground to transform the court into a 3 vs 3 game. The indoor pool will be a real complex with a viewing area. “Three-metre glass windows run the length and width of the pool.” A camera system, designed by Eric Straily, director of the world championships in Quebec City, will be integrated into this complex. “I’ve always wanted to make hockey a spectator sport,” says Rive.

These infrastructures will not be the only ones to be built. Accommodation for about 15 people for the hockey players is also included in the package ! Lyndon’s ambition is not only to build a place dedicated to hockey, but also to have “the strongest club in the world” playing there. More than a complex, a training and performance centre where only the most committed players will be able to stay. “If you don’t train, if you don’t stay with the team, if you don’t follow the rhythm of the team, someone else will take the spot.” These players will be coached by New Zealand world champion Jesse Hocking.

A facility for hockey and only for hockey

Through this facility, the Rive family wanted to put underwater hockey first. “Different countries have different priorities for hockey and unfortunately in the United States it is at the bottom of the list.” One of Lake Tahoe Underwater Hockey’s other goals is to organize competitions. “I want to create my own championship so that we run it and own it.” Creating the Club World Cup is one idea that could come to Lake Tahoe. More than the competition itself, it’s the length of the competition that Lyndon wants to change, with tournaments taking place over a week. “Many championships are only two or three days long. I think we can change the ratio with more hockey than travel.” Note that the complex is located 45 minutes from the Reno airport.

It is in the beautiful setting of the second deepest lake in the United States that a hockey club will begin in February 2023. For those who move there, there will be no pool costs, a pool available all year long and accommodation provided in exchange for the promise of a strong commitment. Underwater hockey could have a new boost with this more than ambitious initiative !

The video presentation of the project :

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  1. Pingback: Lake Tahoe Underwater Hockey : le projet d’une vie – UWH News – Le média du Hockey Subaquatique

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