2018 will be the 11th year in a row that Labatt Blue will be hosting its Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament. The last couple of years, the tournament has been held at Buffalo RiverWorks, the fastest growing waterfront venue in WNY. While many things will stay the same with tournament play, Labatt Blue does have one big twist that it is delivering this year – “The annual Buffalo tradition returns as two tournaments for the first time ever.”
There will also be some exciting new RiverWorks activities for guests to enjoy, including silo tours, zip-lining, rock climbing, and obstacle courses. Yes, zip-lining will be operational for the duration of the tournament.
“The Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament started more than a decade ago as a true celebration of our love for hockey,” said Gina Heine, associate brand manager for Labatt Blue. “Every year, we look forward to bringing this tradition to life in a new and unique way for both players and fans. Our eleventh anniversary event is packed full of great hockey play, live entertainment, outdoor activities and of course, ice-cold Labatt Blue.”
“The Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament is always a highlight of our year,” said Sean Green, director of athletics and sponsorship, Buffalo RiverWorks. “This is our fifth year hosting the tournament, and this year we’re bringing a whole new experience to the players and fans, including zip-lining, rock climbing and silo tours. We can’t wait to see the crowds cheer on their hockey teams and enjoy all the event has to offer.”
About the Tournaments:
The puck drops for the first tournament at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. More than 200 players across multiple skill levels will compete on six refrigerated rinks, playing three games in a round robin format with championship games held that evening.
The second tournament runs Feb. 15-18. Seven hundred players will compete in one game on Thursday, Feb. 15 or Friday, Feb. 16 and play their remaining games on Saturday, Feb. 17 or Sunday, Feb. 18. The new format provides more flexibility for teams to participate in the sought-after outdoor hockey tournament.
- Labatt Blue Zone: featuring games, entertainment and Labatt Blue giveaways
- Sled Hockey Exhibition Game: players from the Team USA sled hockey team and other local sled hockey teams will compete on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4 p.m.
- Live Entertainment: each day during the tournament. Bands include: The Brothers of Invention, Honest Penny, Roadtrip, Tom & Larry, Full Circle and headliner Breakaway
- Sabres Game Viewing and Sabres Alumni Appearances
- Games and Activities: Labatt Blue silo tours, silo ziplining and rock climbing outside of Buffalo RiverWorks (weather permitting), quad bungee-jumping, obstacle course
Game Schedule and Competition:
Players will compete across 16 divisions, including one women’s and 15 men’s divisions. Game play runs:
- Sunday, Feb. 11 from 4 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m. Finals at 9:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 15 from 7 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 16 from 7 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1 p.m. until approximately 8:30 p.m. Finals begin at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 18 from 12 p.m. until approximately 8:00 p.m. Finals begin at 3:00 p.m.
A full game schedule is available at www.LabattBluePondHockey.com/buffalopond.
Nearly 900 novice, intermediate, advanced and elite level hockey players make up the teams, with rosters ranging from four to seven players, 21 years of age and older. Teams play a four-on-four format, absent a goalie.
Teams play a minimum of three round-robin games. The winner of each bracket will go on to play in the tournament finals. The 16 total divisional winners will be named tournament champions in their respective divisions.
Buffalo RiverWorks | 359 Ganson Street | Buffalo, New York 14203