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New Location For Pond Hockey Tourney This Weekend In Eagle River

Pixabay.com AWWest

There's a change in location due to Mother Nature, but the 15th annual LaBatt Blue-USA Pond Hockey National Championships begin Friday morning in Eagle River.

260 teams will bring about 2,000 players in both men's and women's categories to the Eagle River Derby Track along with families and spectators from dozens of states. The ice didn't form as needed on Dollar Lake this year so the event was moved to the Derby Track.

USA Hockey's Ashley Bevan says years ago they worked with groups to bring the event to Eagle River...

"...We worked with the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association and Don Coleman here locally, who has since passed away, to find a location that would suitable for this adventure. Really, the rest is history. Don pointed us to a great spot. We worked with the Chanticleer(Inn) and the local town and fire department and really the entire community to make sure we could be here and make this happen...."

Bevan says they had about 40 teams the first year. There's no admission charge. There's 24 rinks set up at the track and amateur hockey buffs battle on the ice. They'll start each day through the weekend at 9 a.m.

Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center Executive Director Kim Emerson(em-er-son) says having the influx of visitors is good during non-peak tourist times...

"That means wonderful things for us. All of those people are coming, staying in our lodging facilities. Going to our gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants. Bar and grills. So it's a great boost for the economy during a slower time in the winter. We're looking forward to a great weekend...."

The Derby Complex also served as host for the tournament in 2015.

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