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Pond hockey tournaments back on in Fairlee with new COVID precautions

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST
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FAIRLEE, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s an annual tradition on Lake Morey in Fairlee that was canceled last year because of COVID. But once again, pond hockey players from across the region have taken the ice.

“Coming back out here is kind of like stepping back in time,” said Chris Fortin of Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Nearly 100 teams are competing in this year’s Frostbite Face-off. You can get a great view of all the action from the Lake Morey Resort, which makes sure the rinks are ready to go every year.

But last year, the pandemic meant no pucks on the ice.

“We missed a lot of things because of COVID. This was something that we looked forward to every year. When we got the news, we totally understood why they were canceling it,” Fortin said.

“Understandably, COVID was kind of on the rise during the winter,” said Brian Collamore of Rutland.

“A lot of people in the region were not really excited about being in hotels last winter,” said Sarah Howe of the Lake Morey Resort.

A year later, despite surging cases, the tournaments held here are back on. But one big difference is that everyone needs to show proof of vaccine in order to play or pass strict testing protocols.

“It’s great to be able to host something like this and to be able to do it as safely as possible and have as much activities outdoors,” Howe said.

And it’s not just about sports. All those skates on the ice mean local businesses are scoring big.

“You get teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, I saw a couple teams from out West. It brings a lot of bodies, a lot of money into the area,” Collamore said.

“We are dining out here in some of the great restaurants, we are going to Simon Pearce and seeing what they got there. A lot of great tourist attractions that we are going to take advantage of,” Fortin said.

The resort plans to host its own tournament next weekend. More than 70 teams have already signed up to take part.

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