MISSOULA, Mont. - The fourth annual Seeley Lake pond hockey tournament kicked off this weekend. Hundreds of people from all over the country attended and strapped up for some outdoor hockey action.
The tournament started Friday evening and will conclude Sunday afternoon for the tournament championships. For the Seeley community this growing tournament sparks the economy and provides lots of extra local business.
"It's huge I mean this is a huge economic draw for the town. Realistically it's about second only to the fourth of July. Every hotel room fills up for the entire weekend, every restaurant is packed, all the local businesses see a positive economic impact," explained Tom Monaghan the tournaments owner.
Local restaurant owner Tim Clark knows that the hockey tournament is becoming a key winter event for local businesses.
"We enjoy the people that are here to have a party time, it's like a party atmosphere and it's really great for the businesses here in Seeley Lake including ours here at Pops. It's nice to have that influx of folks in our little town because there just really isn't a whole lot here," said Clark.
Russ Dissly and his team, the Bozeman Stingers, attended the tournament for the first time. Even though the rain put a damper on the days action, he enjoyed the uniqueness of the tournament.
"Last night was great fun under the lights you know. They got a good setup here, fires, and wall tents and stuff. They really got everything figured out and it's good experience," said Dissly.
There are four total brackets this year, an A and B bracket, co-ed bracket, women's only, and even a youth game on Sunday.
"The unique thing about this tournament is that this venue being able to do it right here on the lake, having private access throughout the steakhouse is huge. We're in a bay so we are protected from a lot of the weather," added Monaghan.
Word of mouth has shown to be a big factor for the Seeley pond tournament as we were told that it has grown from 11 teams in it's first year to 48 teams this year.