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Man-made rinks being erected for pond hockey tournament

The Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament has shifted to 'Plan B' for next weekend. Ice on Lake Erie is not thick enough for play, forcing tournament officials to switch gears.Organizers on Friday announced that due to uncertain winter weather conditions, crews have begun construction of nine man-made ice rinks on Erie Basin Marina land.

Labatt spokesperson Lisa Texido says temperatures are expected to be cold enough to freeze the newly build rinks. She says unseasonably warm days earlier this week diminished the ice progress that had been made, leaving only two inches of ice on the lake when 12 are needed.

Last year's tournament was converted to a street hockey event due to uncooperative weather.

"This year we will have that cold weather, so we're able to go to a plan B that still lets them be on skates," Texido said.

Rink construction by Pace Rinks began Friday at the Erie Basin Marina parking lot and will take a week to complete. 

The sixth annual event kicks off next Saturday with 650 players registered on 96 teams.