Last Frontier Pond Hockey Classic returns after 2-year hiatus

Last Frontier Pond Hockey Classic
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 9:48 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After taking two years off due to the pandemic and poor weather conditions, the 2023 Last Frontier Pond Hockey Classic is a go and the puck drops in Big Lake on Feb. 24.

The tournament’s return is something that Scotty Gomez Foundation President Carlos Gomez has been looking forward to.

“We have lost a little momentum the last couple years with the pandemic, and then last year warm weather — we couldn’t put the rinks up — so we are kind of starting all,” Gomez said. “Last year, we had 153 teams sign up and this year we are going to be lucky to get 80 or 90 because we are kind of starting all over again — but we are here we are going to make it happen.”

Last year, warm weather forced the tournament to cancel and it was nearly canceled again this year due to the large amounts of snow Southcentral Alaska has received recently.

However, Gomez says that the foundation is already preparing, and is starting to build the rinks in the coming days.

“We do it because it’s a fundraiser for Scotty Gomez Foundation number one,” Gomez said. “The bottom line is it’s giving back to the community.”

The foundation has big plans for the future of the tournament as well.

“We’re trying to get it on the circuit that’s nationwide. We want it to be one of the better ones, and we’re going to work until we can’t work no more,” Gomez said.

The Last Frontier Pond Hockey Classic offers nine different divisions including youth, co-ed, novice and elite divisions, giving an opportunity for skaters of all ages and skills to hit the ice. According to Gomez, a band will perform on Friday and Saturday nights, and Saturday night concludes with a fireworks show.

Unfortunately, the foundation’s namesake Scotty Gomez won’t be in attendance due to a scheduling conflict. He will be in New Jersey celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the New Jersey Devil’s Stanley Cup win with his former teammates.

The last day to register a team for the tournament is Feb. 16.