2023 Wisconsin Pond Hockey Classic returning to Sunnyvale Park in Wausau

Games will be played at Sunny Vale Park Friday through Sunday
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:07 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Pond Hockey Classic is almost here. Friday will officially begin the 12th year of the hockey tournament and event organizers are preparing for the event while teams are getting ready to compete.

“It goes back to the roots hockey and how it all started on the ponds and on the lakes,” said Scott Liegl, the co-tournament director of the Wisconsin Pond Hockey Classic.

52 teams from across the country will be making their way to Wausau to compete in the tournament. “We’ve got novices, all the way to what we would consider an open division, which is going to be more of your higher-level players,” said Liegl.

However, pond hockey is a little different than regular hockey. Liegl said they play with goals that are only six inches high and there is about a six-inch gap on either side.

It’s hockey with a twist and there are no boundaries. “There are no lines there are no outsides and it’s 4 on 4 so we have no goalies,” said Liegl.

To put a sporting event on ice, players and organizers are at the mercy of the weather.

“This is the first year we’ve had to deal with snow this close to the tournament, but typically we usually have a decent amount of ice. If we don’t have enough ice, we have backup plans or contingency plans,” said Liegl.

The Wisconsin Pond Hockey Classic also brings in money to local businesses. Accentu planning and tent rentals provide shelter for players and spectators.

“In the past, we’ve done tables and chairs but this is the first time we’ve done a tent for the event,” said Bill Fischer, the owner of Accentu.

“The local businesses are going to be impacted by the guys coming out, eating food, staying at hotels, buying gas. All the same things that would happen with normal tourism that would come into the area,” said Liegl.

This year’s hockey tournament is estimated to have about 400 participants with another 200 spectators. The Wisconsin Pond Hockey Classic begins at 5 p.m. on Friday.