Unseasonably warm temperatures have produced unsafe ice conditions and forced the cancellation of the Montana Pond Hockey Classic in Kalispell, organizers announced Saturday.
The third annual event was slated for Feb. 19-21. The average temperature in Kalispell in February has been 2.6 degrees warmer than the historical norm, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperature on Feb. 11 was 49 degrees.
“We are extremely disappointed to have to cancel the event,” said Diane Medler, director of the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau.
The CVB organizes the annual pond hockey tournament with producer Pond Hockey Classic.
“Unfortunately, we have fallen victim to the mercy of Mother Nature, and the ice in the area has become too compromised to hold the tournament,” Medler said.
Earlier this week the Kalispell CVB announced that the event would be moved from Foys Lake to Woodland Park near downtown Kalispell, but the organizers informed players late yesterday that the ice will not be playable next weekend after the past week’s unseasonably high temperatures — plus the balmy weather forecast.
“We have tried to source frozen lakes at higher elevations but to no avail as conditions are unsafe at those locations as well. Unfortunately, this winter has not been kind to pond hockey and ice fishing enthusiasts,” Medler said.
Medler said the Kalispell CVB will look forward to the 2017 Montana Pond Hockey Classic, which could be moved into January in order to accommodate the ever-changing weather conditions.
Although the Pond Hockey Classic refund policy states no refunds will be given within the 10-day window of the event, the event producer said it has offered to defer 100 percent of the registration fee and hold all of the teams’ spots for the 2017 Montana Pond Hockey Classic. Or players can choose to receive a 50 percent refund of this year’s registration fee, according to the organizers.
“Our entire community is incredibly disappointed we cannot host the players this year. It is our favorite event of the season,” Medler added. “We will begin looking right away for a January 2017 event date that will hopefully bring us colder temps and favorable ice conditions for our pond hockey players.”
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