SIDNEY — The 4th annual Maine Pond Hockey Classic will be Feb. 12-14 at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts on Snow Pond (Messalonskee Lake).

While many hockey players have played “pond hockey,” few players have found their way to organized pond hockey tournaments like the Maine Pond Hockey Classic.

“These tournaments are definitely a niche, but more and more players are discovering our tournaments and loving the competitive play,” Tournament Director Patrick Guerette said in a news release. “Players love the nostalgia of playing outdoors; after all, that’s where most of us got our start, and everyone enjoys the laid back atmosphere.”

The tournament aims to provide a festival-like experience for players and spectators. The tournament site will consist of at least six rinks, the tournament sponsor Bud Light Beer Garden & player’s lounge, fire pits, food vendors, a free skate rink and a few tricks tournament organizers are keeping as surprises.

There will also be an area designated for skills competitions and tailgating games, aptly named the “Up For Whatever” area.

And on Saturday at 11 a.m. the classic will host the Alfond Youth Center’s 27th annual Polar Bear Dip will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. p.m., at Snow Pond.

The Snow Pond Center for the Arts will offer conveniences to players.

“When you are hosting players from far away, you want to make sure you think of the entire player experience. This location provides a lot of amenities. We will have plenty of parking, drive on access to the ice, and heated indoor space for players between games,” Bert Languet, volunteer director of event operations, said in the release.

The tournament offers seven divisions for players of varying ages and ability levels: Open “A,” Open “B,” Women’s, COED, Recreational, 40-plus, and a “College” division. Each division winner will receive a prize pack including complimentary entry to the following year’s tournament, championship sweatshirts, and a unique trophy.

Registration for the tournament closes Thursday, Jan. 12, after that teams can submit their name to a wait list.

Each team plays three pool play games for seeding followed by a single elimination tournament. Pond hockey is played four on four without goalies or on-ice officials, and each team is allowed to have up to seven players on their roster.

Interested teams can register and get more information online at www.mainepondhockey.org. The tournament can be followed on Facebook or twitter @mainepondhockey.

Proceeds from the tournament and Polar Bear Dip will benefit the local Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville.

For those interested in volunteer opportunities, email Patrick Guerette, tournament director, at [email protected].

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