It’s almost pond hockey time again, and today, Labatt USA, importer of Labatt Blue beer, announced details of the third annual – bigger, better and one day longer – Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament. (Entry information at bottom of article.)
This coming February, 112 teams will
compete in approximately 14 divisions, over two days, Saturday, February 27th – with division final games continuing on Sunday, February 28th,
The inaugural 2008 tournament
featured 16 teams, and last February’s hosted 64! 2010’s 112 teams, with 700 players, will come in part
through 10 smaller Labatt Blue-sponsored “feeder” tournaments
throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont that will send their top teams
here to play.
Players will skate on eight
man-made rinks (using water, shovels, small plows and hay barrels), measuring
150ft. by 75ft. Games will begin at approximately 7:30AM and continue
until 5PM, on the icy shores of Lake Erie at the Erie Basin Marina.
According to Labatt Blue
Associate Brand Manager Ryan Daley, “There’s something special about playing outdoor
hockey and enjoying a Labatt Blue beer with your buddies. The frozen lake,
fresh, cold air and ‘old school’ hockey makes for a great day,” said Daley.
“Each year, we hear from more and more players who want to participate… all
thirsting for a real hockey experience.”
Daley describes those “real” conditions as the “choppy, dull and sometimes wet surface of Lake Erie,”
calling it “hockey in its purest form.” Players will be responsible
for maintaining the ice with shovels and buckets of water during play “much
like you would during a pick-up game on a neighborhood pond,” says Daley.
Ed Ellis of Performax Hockey
Systems has been named tournament director. Ellis will oversee team and referee
recruitment, game scheduling and tournament day events. Teams will be comprised
of four to six players, 21 years of age and older, who play a four-on-four
format, absent a goalie. Nets are six inches high and six feet wide like the
goals used in the Labatt Blue US Adult Pond Hockey Championships held in Eagle
River, Wisconsin. Teams will compete in a round robin format in one of 14
divisions. The winner of each bracket will go on to play a championship
“The Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond
Hockey Tournament has grown into one of our city’s great annual winter events,”
said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “Over the past two years, hundreds of hockey players
and spectators have come to the city’s waterfront to enjoy a truly exceptional
and fun outdoor event that celebrates both our passion for hockey and outdoor
winter activities. Thanks to the support and ingenuity of Labatt USA, which has
been an outstanding corporate citizen in Buffalo and our region, we can look
forward to another successful Pond Hockey Tournament this year and for many
years to come.”
The Labatt Blue
Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament also will feature music, food vendors and
Enter a Team:
To enter a team in the Labatt
Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament, teams must register by January 18th, 2010. There is a registration fee
of $250 and players must present proof of age. Tournament directors recommend
registering early because they anticipate an early sellout. Registered teams
receive a minimum of three games over two days (*weather dependent) and a
Labatt Blue gift. Teams who make the division finals will receive newly
designed Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey jerseys.
Become a fan of the Labatt
Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament on Facebook. Fans will receive updates and information on rink
construction, schedules, weather conditions and more.
*The Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond
Hockey Tournament is subject to weather conditions.
[UPDATE: Two days
after details were announced for the 3rd Annual Labatt Blue Pond Hockey
Tournament, the event sold out. Moments after event information was released on
Friday, calls and emails bombarded the tournament director.
still add their teams to a waiting list by visiting www.performaxhockey.com.]