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Youth Pond Hockey Tournament Canceled, Community Disappointed

"We just had to cancel and hope for better next year," St. Ignace Area Visitors Bureau acting executive director Debbie Durm said.

An Upper Peninsula youth pond hockey tournament will not happen.

Warmer, wet weather on the way is to blame.

Last weekend’s Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship was moved from Moran Bay to a parking lot due to a lack of ice.

Now, the Youth Pond Hockey Tournament scheduled for this weekend in St. Ignace had to be canceled because the parking lot rinks outside Little Bear East Arena wouldn’t hold up to the weather.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Erin Malone have more details on how the cancellation affects the area.

"It brings a lot of people," Durm said. "Our motels are full. The restaurants have a good weekend. It is very disappointing."

Lack of ice kept last weekend’s pond hockey tournament off Moran Bay and behind Little Bear East Arena, but with warm weather on the way, the Youth Pond Hockey Tournament had to be canceled.

"With the rain/snow mix on Friday and the warm temperatures Friday and Saturday, we just felt that we would not be able to put on the high quality tournament that we wanted to," Durm said.  

While the ice is frozen right now, with warm weather in the forecast, it had the potential to get dangerous once kids got out on the ice.

"It’s just too hard with the weather warming up to keep that ice hard and keep it safe," St. Ignace Hockey Association secretary Kelly Dean said. "We’re going to have stones and rocks coming up because it’s on gravel.

It’s disappointing not only for local hockey teams, but also for businesses looking forward to the several hundred thousand dollars the tournament brings in.

"We live and die by the snow forecast and the cold, so it is a tough blow when you don’t have these events happen because I know a lot of businesses are really depending on it," Cedar Hill Lodge owner Luke Paquin said.

The tournament will not be rescheduled for this year.

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