Jan 1, 2013 10:42 AM by Dan Cimmino - KPAX Sports
SEELEY LAKE - Many small Montana towns often hit an economic lull during the winter, but as reporter Dan Cimmino found out, a frozen pond does have its advantages.
A couple of Seeley lake business owners are hoping to stimulate the economy with some pond hockey.
"You know at the end of the day we're here to bring business to Seeley and to bring hockey to Seeley and it's a great way to do two things at once," organizer Tom Monaghan explained.
Monaghan and Mike Lindemer came up with the idea, and put it into motion three years ago, a process as they found out, was much easier said than done.
"It takes hundreds of hours. You know it's snowing like crazy right now, but three hours ago we had perfectly almost rink quality ice out here," Monaghan said.
He added that it would take an act of God to postpone the event, as last year's tournament generated an estimated economic impact of $35,000 to $40,000 for the town, a number that should grow as the event continues to get bigger and better.
"We're really trying to make sure that this is the premier pond hockey event for Northwest Montana. You know this is where hockey started...on the lake, and we anticipate as year after year we continue to do things right and do things well we're going to continue to grow," Monaghan observed.
The best part is that it's not just the local businesses who stand to benefit from the event.
"This year we are very fortunate in that we're going to have additional funds at the end of the tournament. And one of the things both Mike and I have said since day one is we really want to give back," Monaghan told us.
"So we're going to take basically all of the additional funds from this tournament, we're going to split 50% of it to the Seeley Lake Elementary School, and then we're going to put the other 50 percent to Missoula area youth hockey, and that's very important to us to be able to do that," Monaghan concluded.
The puck drops Saturday and the teams will play all night long, with the Seeley Cup being handed out to the champion on Sunday afternoon.