More than 100 hockey teams are coming to Big Lake March 13-15 for Alaska's largest outdoor hockey event, the Last Frontier Pond Hockey Classic.
This is the fourth winter in a row the tournament is being held on Big Lake, with 13 rinks being cleared. The event is hosted by the Scotty Gomez Foundation, run by Alaska's famous ex-NHL star. At any given time, there will be 12 games going on at the same time, along with skating on a family rink, making it a fun and fast-paced weekend for everyone.
The tournament was held in Anchorage on Goose Lake before the move to Big Lake in 2017. Held near Burkeshore Marina, the location is ideal because of ample parking, great ice and room for a giant warming tent. Each year, the event is a highlight for players from around Alaska.
There are several different divisions covering ages groups, men's and women's teams and coed teams. Play begins at 9 a.m. Friday and continues throughout Saturday and Sunday. It's not just about the non-stop hockey however - concerts take place on Friday and Saturday nights, and there are plenty of other activities to keep everyone happy, including helicopter sightseeing trips.
The event is a fund-raiser for the Scotty Gomez Foundation, which is dedicated to making hockey accessible to children across Alaska. The foundation has supplied countless teams with free gear, ice time, and sponsored leagues to make sure kids have a chance to learn to play.