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      First-ever pond hockey tournament held in Escanaba

      Hockey players of all ages braved the brutal outdoor wind chill for a chance to play good old-fashioned pond hockey.

      One-hundred-twenty-four players came from far and wide to play in the first-ever mites to men tournament.

      Well, I know the worst thing about it is the cold, says participant Brendan Sliva. I like playing hockey, just getting out there, feeling the wind through my hair."

      Unlike regular hockey games, in pond hockey, there's no checking, no slapshots, and no goalies.

      The event was hosted by the Escanaba Area Junior Hockey Association. The proceeds raised through registration and raffle tickets will be used to buy new equipment and pay club travel expenses.

      Besides the hockey, we have a lot of donated items, explains tournament director, Brent Krutina. There's a lot of things to do in the tents. Obviously we have warm-up tents; we've got a guy selling fish sandwiches there. They TMre absolutely delicious. Jos Taco is here as well. There TMs a lot of things to do for the whole family."

      But there were some skating risks to consider on the four outdoor rinks.

      We have search and rescue volunteers to come down and help us out, explains tournament coordinator, Terry Russell. These guys will go out on the ice. So if we have an accident and somebody needs to be brought off the ice, that's what they're here for."

      The pond hockey tournament will end on Sunday with an awards ceremony.

      So far, eight teams have played tonight. Tomorrow, all twenty-four teams will play, and officials are hoping for much warmer weather. The games begin tomorrow at noon and won TMt end until 9 p.m.