For the second year in a row, the Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament will be held at RiverWorks. A press conference was held earlier today, detailing the tournament and the recent advancements made at the RiverWorks site (359 Ganson Street in Buffalo). Last year the tournament was a raging success, using what was considered a bare bones facility. This year, the venue is well on its way to opening, which will bode well for the event.
“In 2015, we’re celebrating the 8th Annual Labatt Blue Buffalo Hockey Tournament in a big way – with a three day, 142 team tournament,” said Lisa Texido, brand manager, Labatt. “This will be one of the largest tournaments we’ve ever held in Buffalo – and we’re excited for a great weekend of hockey in February.”
Since the ice is refrigerated, with no chance of melting, the predetermined conditions have allowed the tournament to grow in 2015. There will be three full days of hockey (Friday, Feb. 20 – Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015), making it even more worth while for players who are traveling from further away. Even now there are upwards of 240 games scheduled, to be played by 142 teams (1000 players). There will be 12 divisions, including a women’s division (7 player rosters).
Labatt has also unveiled a brand new Labatt Blue Pond Hockey website, where players can check on play times, live score updates, standings, etc. An app will make the feature even more handy.
“We wanted to really amp up this year’s tournament – and I think the players will really see and feel that,” Texido said. “Our new website and app provide real-time information for our players, and the new RFID technology is bringing a new social enhancement to the games, making it easy for players to share their photos, tag their friends, and a lot more.
New for this year’s event are five player locker rooms, an enclosed room for team registration, a number of reserved parking spaces for players, indoor/outdoor concessions, a deejay, music and a number of other surprises along the way.
Below are the full details released by Labatt:
Tournament registration opens on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at noon and runs through Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Teams must register online atwww.LabattBluePondHockey.com with their full team rosters. Date of birth for all players must be submitted upon registration. Teams will then be divided into their respective divisions and selected via random lottery draw. Players can find out if their team has been selected by checking the tournament website on Thursday, January 1, 2015 at noon. Once teams have been selected, a $250 registration fee will be due by Jan. 16. For questions, team captains should contact tournament director Ed Ellis at Ed@labattbluepondhockey.com.
2015 Tournament Structure and Format
Since the tournament is adding a third day of hockey play this year, the game schedule has been designed so teams will play two out of the three days. Specifically, Novice and the Women’s divisions will play on Friday and Saturday, while the Advanced and Intermediate divisions will play on Saturday and Sunday. Hockey action is slated to take place:
- Friday, Feb. 20, noon – 8:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 21, 10:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Tournament director Ed Ellis will oversee team registration, referee recruitment, game scheduling and other tournament details. Key features of the tournament include:
- Players will skate on six refrigerated ice rinks.
- Teams will be comprised of four to seven players, 21 years of age and older, who play a four-on-four format, absent a goalie.
- Each team is guaranteed three games, with two, 13 minute halves.
- Nets are six inches high and six feet wide, like the goals used in the Labatt Blue US Adult Pond Hockey Championships held each year in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
- Teams will compete in a round robin format in a specified division. The winner of each bracket will go on to play a championship game.
For more information, visit www.labattbluepondhockey.com. Join the conversation about the Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament at www.facebook.com/LabattBlueUSor get the Labatt Bear’s take on the games at www.twitter.com/labattusa. Fans can view and share photos, and receive updates and information on game schedules, weather conditions and more.