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Mild weather forces cancellation of pond hockey tournament

'You can't skate in slush. You can't pass a puck in slush. There was no way it was going to happen with those warm temps.'

The second annual three-on-three Pond Hockey Tournament has been cancelled for Feb. 18. because of unsafe ice conditions on the St. Marys River in Barbeau, Mich., a news release stated.

The owners, and organizers of the event, Sara and Ron Gordon, said they are disappointed Mother Nature did not cooperate this year.

It was last Friday when the decision to cancel the event was made by Ron when he drilled a hole and the ice was eight inches thick.  That is fine depth-wise, but the warm spell came through and the top three inches turned to slush.

"You can't skate in slush.  You can't pass a puck in slush. There was no way it was going to happen with those warm temps," Sara Gordon said.

The colder weather Wednesday night through Saturday morning might make people question if the event still could be held.  But it is just not possible.

"It's (the weather) completely out of our control. It takes a few days to build a good ice rink, we have to drill holes, we have to flood it, we have this mechanism that one of our Barbeau residents made that we hook up to the back of our side by side which acts as a Zamboni with the hot water.  Totally redneck, but it works," she added.   

Plus Saturday could reach up into the 30's again so the ice would most likely just turn into slush again.

Gordon says having this event on the St. Marys River is much different that having it on an inland lake, or pond, such as the LaBatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament in St. Ignace. Since Moran Bay is not ice covered right now, they moved it to an inland lake called Chain Lake. That event is this weekend.

"The river is always flowing under the ice, shifting it.  Also, the occasional tanker ship will pass through and that will shift the ice quite a bit. That does not happen on inland lakes," Gordon said.

The Gordons are not giving up on having winter activities, though. They have a Sprint Car event coming up on March 4 at 1p.m. which also includes barrel races and kitty car races.  

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