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St. Clair Shores

January 11, 2013

Officials mark Jan. 15 for decision on pond hockey tourney in Shores

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Organizers of the 2013 Pond Hockey Winter Classic will decide Jan. 15 if the event, slated for Jan. 25-27 in St. Clair Shores, will take place.

A recent increase in temperatures — and subsequent melting of snow and ice — have put the event in jeopardy. Warm weather caused last year's even to be cancelled.

The tournament is slated to take place on Lake St. Clair. Games will be played in the canal between Brownies on the Lake and the Emerald City Marina, located north of  9 Mile and Jefferson. 

A check of the ice on Lake St. Clair Jan. 4 found there was about three inches of ice on the lake, according to St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation Director Greg Esler.

Esler added that a risk management team informed city officials that four inches would be needed to safely accommodate players and that six inches would be needed to accommodate any necessary equipment.

"We've basically got everything in place ... except the weather," Esler said Jan. 7.

Interest in the classic is strong, according to Esler. About 100 teams signed up last year, and for this installment, organizers capped the number of teams at 48.

"People are looking for something to do outside with their families," Esler said. "It'll be great for the community and businesses."

The field is comprised of teams in four, no-check divisions: competitive with players 21 and older, recreation with players 21 and older, recreation with players 30 and older, and novice with players 21 and older. Cost per team is $375 and registration has closed.

Teams will play on eight rinks in 40-minute, two-half contests that will feature a running clock. No games will end in a tie, and each team is guaranteed three games. There is no fighting.

"I think (the style of play) should be more wide open than regulation games, because you'll have less players on the ice," said Russ DiCristofaro, president of the Macomb Area Conference Hockey Board and coach of the St. Clair Shores United Hockey team.

To check on the status of the event, visit its Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/NaulticalMileWinterClassic, or call (586) 498-2401.