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      Pond hockey championships draw thousands to Upper Peninsula

      P ond hockey players from all over the country are in St. Ignace this weekend for one of northern Michigan's largest winter events.

      T he 8th annual U.P. Pond Hockey Championships is the only one of its kind on the Great Lakes and thousands are on hand to participate.

      "W e look forward to this all year , can't beat it , cannot get any better ," Jamie Berlin, Fighting Mullets Hockey Club member said.

      M ore than 190 teams come to this tournament each year with that same mentality.

      "I think it's a good time , you get the drink beer , pla y some h ock ey," Scott Jasmund, hockey player said.

      T his is one of the largest pond hockey tournaments in the country.

      T here are 36 rinks set up on Lake Huron. However, to get them ready was no easy task.

      "W e started three weeks ago , getting the snow off the ice ," James Dekeyser, St. Ignace Visitors Bureau President said. "S o if we keep the snow off , the ice builds better and thicker."

      T his event has become one of the biggest ways to boost the local economy , bringing thousands of people to town.

      "I think it's great for the community , you know there is nothing going on here for the most part in the winter, so you can come out and play some hockey," Jasmund said.