Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship date moved to February

A sign to keep off the ice for the pond at White Park during the snowstorm on Thursday morning, January 12, 2023.

A sign to keep off the ice for the pond at White Park during the snowstorm on Thursday morning, January 12, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 01-16-2024 4:10 PM

Modified: 01-17-2024 10:25 AM


Despite freezing temperatures in the forecast for the week, the annual Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament, originally planned for Jan. 26 to 28 at White Park in Concord, has been rescheduled to take place Feb. 9 to 11.

The problem is the warm weather that’s expected to arrive next week and render the skating surface unusable just before the tournament.

If the weather conditions cooperate, the event will be held outside. If not, it will be postponed again until March 22 to 24, when it would be held indoors at Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett.

Last year, the event was forced to move indoors after a warm winter meant there wasn’t any stable ice to play on. Everett Arena served as the host in mid-March.

“We felt strongly that because we had to do it inside last year that we wanted to give every attempt to have this outdoors,” said Chris Brown, one of the tournament’s founding members. “For the next five or six days, it’s really cold, but you can see the forecast for next week, and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday is 35 to 40, and there’s not enough ice on that pond right now.”

The Winter Fest celebration held in downtown Concord that typically coincides with the hockey tournament will stick with its schedule of events held Jan. 26 to 28.

The downtown festival will return for it’s sixth consecutive year, featuring a weekend of ice-carving competitions, vendors and family-friendly activities, like telescope viewing on the State House lawn and a dance party at the Bank of NH Stage, organizers said.

If the hockey tournament does move inside, it would still be able to accommodate all registered teams, Brown said. Last year, only 55 of 80 teams could participate because Everett Arena only has one sheet of ice. Tri-Town has two.

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The hope, though, is that the temperatures stay cold, and White Park’s pond serves as the site for one of the highlights of winter activity in the Concord area.

“This ambient temperature we’ve been having over this winter with highs in the mid-30s and lows in the mid-20s, just is not conducive to making ice,” Brown said. “You really need five to six days of single-digit weather at night and mid-20s at best for highs, and you’ve got a fighting chance.”

For more information about Concord NH Winter Fest, visit intownconcord.org.