2017-01-12 / Front Page

St. Ignace Events Plans Underway

By Kevin R. Hess


The Rapid City Renegades, a roller derby team based out of Mackinaw City, will put on an exhibition between games of the Pond Hockey Tournament in February. Pictured here are members of the team: (back row, from left): Katie Maskell, Rebecca West, Rachelle Levesque, Kate MacLeod, Erica Moses, Ali Lemore, Stephanie MacLeod, Darin Corbiere, Amy Ball, referee Jimmy Potter; (middle) Aishia Pickering, Jaime Nemecek, Alisha Harbison, Steffy Kuznicki, Lynn McGinn, Jenn Carter; (front) Duane Landrie, Laura Houle, Penny Barclay, Christie Crack, Brianne Lefurge, and Kasie Marie-Cole. (Photograph provided by Stephanie MacLeod) The Rapid City Renegades, a roller derby team based out of Mackinaw City, will put on an exhibition between games of the Pond Hockey Tournament in February. Pictured here are members of the team: (back row, from left): Katie Maskell, Rebecca West, Rachelle Levesque, Kate MacLeod, Erica Moses, Ali Lemore, Stephanie MacLeod, Darin Corbiere, Amy Ball, referee Jimmy Potter; (middle) Aishia Pickering, Jaime Nemecek, Alisha Harbison, Steffy Kuznicki, Lynn McGinn, Jenn Carter; (front) Duane Landrie, Laura Houle, Penny Barclay, Christie Crack, Brianne Lefurge, and Kasie Marie-Cole. (Photograph provided by Stephanie MacLeod) Planning is well underway at St. Ignace for the 11th annual Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Tournament will be Thursday, February 16, through Sunday, February 19, on Moran Bay. As of January 4, 147 teams are already registered, and more than 200 are expected. Teams will compete in more than 250 games on 30 rinks. Registration is still open for the men’s teams, but the women’s division is closed. Women’s teams still interested can either be placed on a waiting list or enter a Novice division.

Last year’s unseasonably warm weather led to the games being played inland, inside and around Little Bear East. This year’s tournament has been moved one week later than its traditional weekend, to give the bay extra time to freeze.

The weekend will start with a reception at two downtown restaurants, the Mackinac Grille and the Village Inn, Thursday, February 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hockey games will take place Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, with the championship games taking place Sunday, February 19.

Friday night’s festivities include a Detroit Red Wings Alumni Exhibition Game. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. at Little Bear East Arena and features a team of Red Wings alumni taking on a combined team made up of pond hockey players. The alumni team will be available between game periods for photographs and autographs. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (906) 643-6950.

Along with the pond hockey tournament come a couple of new events for 2017. One of those is the first Yooper Ice Tennis Doubles Championship. It is a single elimination tennis doubles tournament on the ice, wearing ice skates. This event takes place over Friday and Saturday and is played on the pond hockey infield. Registration is free, but is limited to the first eight, two-person teams to register. Four alternate teams will be taken in case a team cannot participate. Interested persons can contact the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau at the number above.

Another new feature for this year will be a roller derby exhibition from the Rapid City Renegades, a women’s derby team based out of Mackinaw City. In between games on Saturday, the Renegades will be trading their roller skates for ice skates and giving patrons a taste of what roller derby is all about. They will also be the halftime entertainment during the Red Wings Alumni game, playing games with the crowd and promoting their Saturday exhibition.

Stephanie MacLeod is the president and coach of the Renegades. She says that roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation and they are excited to expose pond hockey fans to it.

“We’ve got team members from all over northern Michigan, and they range from homemakers to professionals,” she says. “Anyone can play, no matter their profession or size.”

The following weekend, from Friday, February 24, to Sunday, February 26, St. Ignace will host two youth hockey tournaments.

The Battle at the Bridge Midget Showdown will take place at Little Bear East Arena, and features teams from Midget A, B, and BB divisions. This is a professional-style tournament with announcing and music, and also includes a free skills competition. Registration is $800 per team and each team is guaranteed four games, with a possible fifth game. Teams interested in registering can contact Little Bear East Ice Arena at (906) 643-8676.

The U.P. Youth Pond Hockey Tournament to be played on Moran Bay that weekend is a four-on-four tourney for youth in Mites (ages 7- 8), Squirt (ages 9-10), Peewee (ages 11-12), and Bantam (ages 13-14). Cost of registration is $100 for Mites and $200 for all other teams. Participation has steadily increased each year. Last year 40 teams were registered, but the event was cancelled as a result of warm weather and thin ice coverage on the bay. Registration is still open and interested teams can register at (800) 338-6660.

Snowmobilers can take part in two St. Ignace events happening in February. The Bent Ski Classic Snowmobile Adventure Run takes place Saturday, February 11. The Bent Ski Classic, offered by the Straits Area Snowmobile Club and the St. Ignace Events Committee, is a scavenger hunt on snowmobiles that requires participants to think, do some research, and complete specific sets of tasks. This is a full day of fun on the trails, and ending with prizes at the Mackinac Grille. The event requires registration, but there is no cost. Those interested can register at the Mackinac Grille in St. Ignace from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, February 10, or 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, February 11. Once registered, participants will receive information on where to go and what to do.

At Naubinway, west of St. Ignace, the weekend of February Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18, is the 25th annual Top of the Lake Show and Ride featuring antique snowmobiles on display, snowmobile rides, a banquet, drawings, and an auction at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. A full schedule will be available soon. To register for the show, contact the museum at (906) 477-6298.

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