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Labatt holding 8th annual Pond Hockey Tournament at RiverWorks

Cheryl Hagen/WBFO News

The 8th Annual Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament is slated for the weekend of February 20th.  The popular event will be held at RiverWorks for the second year now in a row.

"Buffalo just honestly isn't as cold as people think it is,"  says Lisa Texido of Labatt, noting that's the lesson they have learned over the years of organizing the annual Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament.

The event started out at the Erie Basin Marina but after years of touchy weather, Labatt moved it last year to a new nearby venue called RiverWorks.

"Last years tournament was the first time that we've had the event on these two refrigerated rinks,' notes Texido, adding "It worked out really, really well. Players were able to skate the entire weekend. If you remember, we actually had the whole gamut of weather. We had sun to sleet to rain to hail. It happened and we dealt with it and it didn't effect hockey at all."

Texido says they've expanded the tournament, increasing the number of teams by 22 - to 142 teams now playing over 3 days.

One big change you may notice this year  is a pavilion that's been constructed over the rinks, but Doug Swift of RiverWorks says its still very much like an outdoor experience.

"You've got the views of downtown and our industrial neighbors," says Swift noting "We are here literally on top of the water on the Buffalo River and it protects us from the elements."

RiverWorks is expected to have the indoor aspect of its main venue complete, supplying food, drink and heat to those on hand.

Registration for the tournament is already open at LabattBluePondHockey.com. Registration runs through December 31st