Acadian Pond Hockey Classic canceled due to pandemic
ST. AGATHA, Maine — Another popular northern Maine winter event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers of the third annual Acadian Pond Hockey Classic decided to cancel the outdoor tournament, which was scheduled to take place March 2021 on Long Lake in St. Agatha.
“There are just too many unknown factors this late in our planning year to safely say we could even operate a tournament,” event chairman Dean Collins said. “That, as well as the fact that many of our teams come from Canada, makes it even more difficult to plan a successful event.”
Proceeds from the tournament benefit local hockey programs in the greater St. John Valley area, including Canada.
The fundraiser had been increasing in popularity, and saw nearly twice as many registrations last year compared to the first year. The number of spectators reached into the hundreds during the two-day tournament held last March, just before COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.
“We were probably one of the last events that were held in our region just before things started getting shut down, and we hoped that we could plan for next year, but the current reality just doesn’t allow for that,” Collins said. “We also need space to allow for the teams changing rooms, spectator area, etc., and we simply can’t maintain adequate social distancing at this time.”
Organizers are already planning for a 2022 Acadian Pond Hockey Classic and are exploring the idea of building a hockey rink behind the St. Agatha Town Office for the public to enjoy this winter, according Collins.
“After the event last year, a lot of families and kids made use of the rinks which in small groups is perfect for outdoor activity and proper social distancing can easily be maintained in that circumstance,” Collins said. “It would be our way to give back to the community and remind folks that there are brighter days ahead and we will get through all of this and enjoy future tournaments in the years to come.”
The pond hockey committee will make a decision about the ice rink in 2021 as more information about ice conditions become available.