Pond hockey is back and warm weather is certainly not a concern this time around.
The Montana Pond Hockey Classic hits the ice Jan. 20-22 on Foys Lake west of Kalispell. This year’s event will feature the most teams in the three-year history with 73. More than 500 players from across the U.S. and Canada are registered to compete in the four-on-four outdoor tournament, which is free and open to the public.
“We are very excited and so glad to be back on Foys Lake,” Diane Medler, director of the Kalispell Convention and Visitor Bureau, which is organizing and hosting the event with Pond Hockey Classic, said.
Last year’s event was canceled due to unseasonably warm weather and the previous year’s tournament was moved to Woodland Park in downtown due to similar warm temperatures.
Not this year. Northwest Montana is in the grips of one of the coldest winters in recent history, making the ice at Foys Lake ideal for three days of hockey action within seven designated rinks.
“Woodland Park is great for a lot of reasons and worked really well for the event but something about being on an open water lake really makes it special,” Medler said. “It’s a more unique setting and it really takes hockey back to its roots.”
The event, hosted on the south shore and section of Foys Lake, will feature a community skate rink on a portion of ice. Wheaton’s Cycle will be offering free skate rentals and fat bike demos on Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tamarack Brewing Co. will host a beer garden in a heated tent. Staff from ImagineIf Library are organizing children’s games.
Parking will be located across the road from the venue for $5 and members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Northwest Montana chapter will oversee parking and receive a donation from the event.
Moose’s Saloon is hosting a welcome party on Jan. 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. Games will start Friday through Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and run throughout the day, concluding with the championship contests on Sunday.
For a full schedule of events and more information, visit http://www.pondhockeyclassic.com/montana.
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