Organizers of the inaugural canceled the tournament Thursday after unseasonably warm temperatures led to a lack of ice on the canals where the event would be played.
A consensus was reached by the organizers—who include parks and recreation officials, business leaders and volunteer coordinator—to cancel the tournament scheduled for Feb. 10-12.
“This event has gotten more positive publicity not just in St. Clair Shores, but also in county government … it has been a wonderful thing,” city manager Ben Hughes said during the meeting. “For us as a city for to be comfortable to allow for a pond hockey tournament to go, we would need approximately six inches of ice.”
Currently, there is very little ice on the canals where the tournament would be played. The minimal ice coverage, the lack of snow to create the barriers on the ice and the warm forecast for the coming weeks were all factors which led to the decision to cancel the tournament.
The 64 teams which registered for the tournament will soon be notified about the cancelation and will have their entry fees refunded. City officials will give the teams an opportunity to donate to the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association, which was going to received proceeds from the tournament.
“This gives us a year to plan ahead,” said Greg Esler, parks and recreation director. “(We) can look at some opportunity to have more teams come in and make it a winter fest.”
Organizers estimate about $5,000 was spent on marketing and publicity, which included two reusable signs that were strung across Jefferson promoting the tournament.
While the event may be canceled, , which would have been the host restaurant for the tournament, is still planning to host a winter-themed event on Saturday, Feb. 11. Details will be announced shortly.
Business leaders and recreation officials are still planning to hold the event for the third or fourth weekend of January in years to come, despite this year's “freakish” weather.
“We were so energized by the fact that we would have a signature event start on the , that would be repeated year after year and draw people into our city for something that is so very unique and connects us to the lake and connects us to our hockey heritage,” Hughes said. “It not easy to do.”