SIDNEY — This year’s Maine Pond Hockey Classic is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, Feb. 4-6, at Snow Pond Center for the Arts, 8 Goldenrod Lane on Messalonskee Lake.

The annual fundraising tournament supports the Alfond Youth & Community Center (Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville).

The hockey classic provides a festival-like atmosphere for players and spectators alike. The tournament site will contain at least 10 rinks, a community skating area, beer garden, fire pits, music, tournament store, food vendors and a youth skating clinic.

The tournament offers six divisions for players of different ages and abilities, including Open A, Open B, Open C, Recreational D, Women’s Open, Women’s Rec, 30 plus, 40 plus, 50 plus and Just for Fun. Each player on the winning teams in the competitive divisions receives a credit to spend on tournament merchandise in the NLC Ink Skate Shop and the team receives a unique trophy featuring the State of Maine cut from old hockey sticks.

Each team plays three pool play games for seeding followed by a single elimination tournament in the competitive divisions, and Just for Fun teams are scheduled for four games total. Pond hockey is played four on four without goalies or on-ice officials, and each team is allowed to have up to eight players on their roster.

The hockey classic began in 2013 with 14 teams and has grown into one of Maine’s biggest winter events, hosting more than 80 teams in the two years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville.

Last year’s tournament was scaled back, only allowing 20 teams to play from within Maine because of guidelines in place by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “It was great to still have an event last year, we missed having the visiting teams we enjoy seeing every year, but we all decided something small was better than no event at all,” said Tournament Director Patrick Guerette.

The hockey classic was one only a handful of pond hockey tournaments in the country that took place in 2021, requiring masking and limiting people at the event to no more than 50 at a time, each team also had its own VIP Locker Room to keep teams socially distant complete with eight-person ice fishing tent, benches and fire pit. The 2022 tournament is requiring vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours for anyone coming to the tournament site — players, spectators and volunteers.

Now in its 10th year, and seventh at Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney, organizers are expecting 60-80 teams again and capping registration at 100 teams in 2022.

The registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 14, for select divisions.

More information can be found on the tournament website at mainepondhockey.org. Those interested can follow the tournament on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, all @mainepondhockey.

Those looking to get involved with the event can email Patrick Guerette, tournament director, at [email protected].

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