MONTREAL - As part of the festivities planned for Montreal's upcoming 375th anniversary, this January, the city will play host to the biggest outdoor pond hockey tournament in its history.
Wintertime in Montreal is all about hockey and this year, on January 28 and 29, 2017, the Olympic Bassin at Parc Jean Drapeau will provide the perfect venue to allow fans to go back to their roots during the inaugural Classique Montrealaise, an open-air pond hockey tournament that will be held during the NHL All-Star break.
"The Classique Montrealaise is all about rediscovering the fun of playing hockey outside with your buddies," explained event spokesperson, Patrice Brisebois, who played 16 seasons with the Canadiens. "As you know, I'm a proud Canadiens alumni, but I'm also a proud Montrealer. I've played in some of the nicest, most prestigious arenas in North America, but hockey is also about playing outdoors."
Teams from each of Montreal's 19 boroughs will compete in the four-on-four tournament on rinks slightly smaller than those found in most outdoor parks, with six total players filling out each roster. The boards will be lower than standard size and there will be no goaltenders protecting their respective nets. In total, 16 rinks will be available, not only for tournament action, but also for free skating sessions and musical performances. In case of rain, the event will be held the following weekend.
"Whether it's on streets or in alleys around the city or on an outdoor rink in a local park, there's nothing like playing hockey outside. That's how I started playing," continued Brisebois, who suited up for the Canadiens during the NHL's first-ever outdoor game in Edmonton, in November 2003. "When I was growing up, there was nothing better than playing outside with my brothers. That's not only where I learned to play, but it's also where I discovered my passion for the game."
The tournament will be divided into four categories: competitive, recreational, over-50, and women. Winners will have a chance to meet Canadiens alumni and play a friendly game at the Bell Centre
Registration is now open at classiquemontrealaise.ca