2017-02-16 / Front Page

U.P. Pond Hockey Is This Weekend

Red Wings Alumni Game, Weekend of Fun on Chain Lake Offered at St. Ignace
By Kevin R. Hess


All hands were on deck Monday, February 13, as volunteers using snowplows spent the day clearing the ice of Chain Lake at St. Ignace following the weekend snowfall. By Thursday, February 16, Chain Lake will have 25 rinks ready to go for the 2017 Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship. All hands were on deck Monday, February 13, as volunteers using snowplows spent the day clearing the ice of Chain Lake at St. Ignace following the weekend snowfall. By Thursday, February 16, Chain Lake will have 25 rinks ready to go for the 2017 Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship. This weekend will be the 2017 Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship at St. Ignace, Thursday, February 16, through Sunday, February 19. Outdoor hockey action, a Red Wings alumni game at the arena, tennis doubles on ice, and a roller derby demonstration are among the highlights. Admission is free for spectators.

Preparations are underway to ready the ice. This year the event is being held on Chain Lake, due to thin ice coverage on Moran Bay. As of Monday, February 13, there was 22 inches of ice on Chain Lake. Community volunteers were out Monday, cleaning the ice with snowplows after the weekend snow. When the work is completed, there will be 25 ice rinks—24 dedicated to hockey and one rink for the Yooper Ice Tennis Doubles Championship and the Rapid City Renegades roller derby exhibition. Team registration is now closed for all events.


The event tent is up and ready to go for the 2017 Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship on Chain Lake at St. Ignace, where 198 teams, along with family, friends, and fans, will hit the ice starting Friday, February 17. Admission is free for spectators. The event tent is up and ready to go for the 2017 Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship on Chain Lake at St. Ignace, where 198 teams, along with family, friends, and fans, will hit the ice starting Friday, February 17. Admission is free for spectators. The weekend will begin Thursday with a Red Wings reception for pond hockey players from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mackinac Grille. This was originally scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The players will be available for photographs and autographs. Pond hockey gets underway on Friday, February 17, with games from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and continues Saturday, February 18, with a full day of games from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be two championship games Sunday, February 19, at 11 a.m. and noon.

There are 198 teams registered for this year’s event, nearly all of them from outside of St. Ignace. Men’s divisions are separated according to age and skill level. Age divisions are 21 and older, 30 and older, 40 and older, 45 and older, and 50 and older. There is also a Women’s division and a Novice Division. Players are divided into four levels. Level A is for experienced players who have played Junior A or college. Level B is for competitive players who have played Junior B or college club hockey. Level C is for less experienced recreational players, and Novice is for players who did not play organizational hockey before the age of 21. Games are a 4-on-4, round robin style tournament, with two 15-minute halves and a two-minute warm up. Teams receive one point for every win. There are no ties. Games tied after regulation will go to sudden death overtime period, where the first goal wins.

The Detroit Red Wings alumni game will begin at 7 p.m. at Little Bear East Arena, against a team made up of players from the pond hockey tournament. Admission is free and includes in-game and halftime entertainment, including another chance to meet the Red Wings players. (See detailed preview of the game elsewhere in this edition).

The first Yooper Ice Tennis Doubles Championship will take place Friday from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the championship match at 1 p.m. This is a single-elimination tournament featuring eight two-person teams.

The Rapid City Renegades will be holding a roller derby exhibition on ice skates. The exhibition will begin around 2:15 p.m., following the Yooper Ice Tennis Doubles Championship match.

The Youth Hockey Association will once again be providing concessions as a fundraiser in the event tent. The event tent is a heated tent located on land, and is where all food, beer, and wine can be purchased. There will also be a locker room tent on the ice available for players in-between and after their games.

Parking for all activities is free. People can park at Little Bear East Arena and take a shuttle the short distance to the event site, or take the short walk down the trail between Little Bear East Arena and Chain Lake, near the I-75 overpass at Cheeseman Road. Little Bear East is at 275 Marquette Street, just behind the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in downtown St. Ignace.

Throughout the weekend, free shuttles will also be available to take players to and from the lake and their hotels, as well as to any Chamber of Commerce business in St. Ignace such as restaurants, bars, stores, and hotels. Shuttles will not be available to cross the Mackinac Bridge.

Volunteers are still needed in many areas, including shuttle drivers and tennis officials. For a complete list of needs and times for volunteers, see information on this page or call the Chamber of Commerce at (906) 643-8717.

Pond Hockey Volunteers Needed

• Parking Attendant – Friday, Saturday, Sunday
A variety of times are available beginning Friday at 11 a.m.
through Sunday at noon.

• Shuttle Drivers (to transport players to Chain Lake) –
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
A truck is needed, trailers are provided.
A variety of times are available beginning Friday at 11 a.m.
through Sunday at 1 p.m.

• Tennis Tournament – Friday and Saturday
Needed: Ball Retrievers, Line Judges, and Referees
A variety of times are available beginning Friday at noon
through Saturday at 1 p.m.

Please contact the Chamber of Commerce to sign up for
volunteering at 643-8717.

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