White Park is the place for Black Ice hockey

Concord's Black Ice Pond Hockey tournament kicked off Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and continues through the weekend at White Park. (NICK STOICO / Monitor staff)
Concord's Black Ice Pond Hockey tournament kicked off Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and continues through the weekend at White Park. (NICK STOICO / Monitor staff)

If you made your way to White Park for the 8th annual Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament two weekends ago, you probably were wondering where all the players were.

Well, unfortunately the weather forecast didn’t get the memo about the outdoor tournament and put together a string of warm days that likely would have left the ice unplayable after a day or two. So the decision was made to postpone it two weeks – for the third time in eight years – so this upcoming weekend is when you’ll want to head down to White Park to catch all the action.

“Obviously things can change, but at this point, thing look better,” said organizer Chris Brown last week. “People ask why we don’t move it to February, but then where’s your backup?”

The change of dates didn’t do too much to alter the original plans, although it did a little bit. There were supposed to be 98 teams across 10 divisions battling out for pond hockey supremacy, but the postponement left some teams unable to make it. A few have been filled by the waitlist, so it looks as though the number of teams playing will only dip slightly to 95.

“We’ve got a lot of teams on the waitlist, so it will be a pretty full event,” Brown said.

Division games will be played on Friday and Saturday with the semifinals and finals slated for Sunday. Games go from 9 a.m. to 8:20 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. on Saturday. Championship Sunday begins at 9 a.m.

The heated spectator tent will go on as planned featuring interactive games for the youngsters, like a radar gun for hardest slapshots and an accuracy shooting game. There was supposed to be bands playing both days in the tent, but a scheduling conflict will force both performers to play Friday. The Dusty Gray Band (originally on Saturday) will take the stage from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by October Son’s from 6 to 8 p.m.

“We’re trying to schedule another entertainer for Saturday afternoon,” Brown said.

The fireworks will be shot off Friday night at 7:15 p.m., just after the Concord Youth Hockey Dynomites practice on the White Park Rink. You’ll also want to check out Thursday Night Lights with Concord Youth Hockey Thursday night (6 to 7:30 p.m.) and the Youth Hockey Shinny Tournament on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Add in public skating on Friday, bonfires both Friday and Saturday and the ice sculptures (like the ice bar at Cheers) created on Friday, and this is a can’t miss event. Cross your fingers for cold enough weather to play, but warm enough for spectators to enjoy.

“Unless we see 45 to 50 degrees and sunshine, we should be okay,” Brown said. “We’re not doing a golf tournament in the summer that you can play in the rain.”

For more, you can check out our original story at theconcordinsider.com/ 2018/01/23/mother-nature-has-forced-black-ice-to-move or the most up to date information, visit  blackicepondhockey.com.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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