Labatt Pond hockey tournament canceled
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The day started with crews scrambling to prep the five remaining rings not damaged by Friday’s winter blast. After minor delays, the first teams took the ice just after 11, and it looked like this year’s Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament was underway.
''The snow last night really gave us another curveball,” said Lisa Texido, tournament spokesperson. “It was really the freezing rain that made ice conditions a challenge, and so we did delay the start this morning just to deal with the rain so they were prepped and ready to go.”
The storm took four of nine makeshift rinks out of commission, but players say after last year’s street hockey tournament, they were just glad to lace up their skates and take to the ice.
"We're excited, you know. Like I said, hopefully the ice will hold up here. They say we lost a few rinks, but hopefully the ice will hold up for us," said player William Hill, Brant.
"We got here early in the morning and they called us to tell us that it was going be three hours late, but we showed up anyways, hung in there, went out for some breakfast, came back and won our first game," said player Lisa Fontana.
But that would be the only victory for Team Fontana. Just a few hours later, organizers decided to cancel the tournament after determining the five ice rinks just couldn't hold up to the number of players.
"The rinks get slushy,” said Texido. “We have a lot of guys playing on rinks that were really designed for half the capacity given the tournament set up, and so double the amount of people, double the amount of skates, the tear up that happens, (it) just really couldn't be sustained for the rest of the event.”
It was rough out there, the ice didn't cooperate very well,” said player Kevin Simpson. “So, we did the best we could, we got one game in after that it was kind of no luck.”
“Mother Nature, you can't account for things out of our hands,” said player Mark DeJames. “Unfortunately, the circumstances are what they are, some of the rinks were inoperable and better luck next year.”
Organizers say registration fees will be refunded to all teams whether they took to the ice or not.