The recent polar vortex might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is certainly helping prepare Whitmore Lake for an annual pond hockey tournament.

The 2019 Michigan Pond Hockey Classic is taking place on Whitmore Lake February 8th through the 10th. The adult pond hockey tournament was in jeopardy earlier this year due to safety and alcohol management concerns since the event has grown. There was initially some talk of canceling the tournament and authorities earlier stated it had gotten too difficult to police in its current state. However there is also a lot of community support for the event so organizers, concerned board members and Northfield Township Police have since worked out a plan to boost security and safety, including a barrier fence to help delineate the area.

The event started out in 2008 but has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Event Media Coordinator Spencer Iaquinto says in past years, around 2,000-3,000 skaters and spectators come out daily from across the U.S. and Canada during tournament weekend. He tells WHMI the tournament brings together hockey players of all ages and skill levels for competition and camaraderie. In addition to the tournament, food vendors, fireworks and a beer and entertainment tent are planned.

All proceeds from the tournament will go directly to a fund through the non-profit Michigan Pond Hockey Sports Charities that is dispersed to local school districts and youth athletic organizations to help pay participation fees for many struggling families. Teams looking to register must do so by this Friday, February 1st and be at least 18 years old to participate. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available. Details can be found through the link. (JM)