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Mother Nature will determine if Massena Cup outdoor or indoor tournament

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MASSENA - Mother Nature will be the one who makes a decision on whether this weekend’s Massena Cup hockey tournament is played outdoors in the Massena Arena annex or inside the Massena Arena.

And as of Tuesday, she wasn’t playing nice, with the chances looking better for an indoor rather than an outdoor tournament. Play is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Friday and wrap up with one of three finals at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

“A full contingency plan is in place. We’ve had a bunch of schedules going back and forth,” Recreation Director Richard A. Boprey told members of the Massena Joint Recreation Commission Tuesday.

Tom Post, one of the organizers for the tournament, said that, based on the current weather conditions, it appears all the action would be taking place inside the arena.

“The ice (in the arena annex) is pulling away from the boards. We have gaps between the boards and the ice,” making it hazardous for skaters, he said.

Mr. Boprey shared those same concerns with his board members.

“It’s now pulled out a half inch. It’s moving away from the boards, which terrifies me,” he said.

What makes it difficult to accept is that there had been five-and-a-half inches of ice on the outdoor annex, Mr. Boprey said.

“The weekend before it was rock solid ice. It’s heartbreaking to know we had five-and-a-half inches,” he said. “For there to be as much ice out there as there is, we’ve done a pretty good job.”

“There’s no question you put your time, staff and labor into it,” Recreation Commission Chairman David M. MacLennan said.

But that was before Mother Nature jacked up the outdoor thermostat in recent days. And the forecast for the coming days isn’t looking promising, with projected highs of 37 on Wednesday, 32 on Thursday, 37 on Friday and 30 on Saturday.

The recent wave of warmer temperatures has affected all of the outdoor rinks, according to Mr. Boprey.

“Alcoa Field is down to grass. The wooden playground is turning, too,” he said.

Unless the weather changes for the colder, Friday and Saturday games will be moved inside.

“We have a contingency plan. They’ll either be in here at 5 o’clock or out there at 5 o’clock. They want to play the championship game out there on Saturday,” Mr. Boprey said.

Friday’s schedule includes Via Main vs. Perras and MS&L vs. Ice Hogs at 5 p.m.; JAC Tower vs. Boyea Construction and NYPA vs. Life Net at 5:45 p.m.; Labatts vs. N. Country and Henophy vs. State Farm at 6:45 p.m.; 4th Line vs. Red Raiders and Barndogs vs. Budmen at 7:30 p.m.; Bukkaki vs. Wild and Lights out vs. Plattsburgh at 8:30 p.m.; and Frenchie’s Chevrolet/Ford vs. Pirates at 9:15 p.m.

The Saturday schedule includes Pirates vs. NYPA and Boyea Construction vs. Frenchie’s at 8 a.m.; Via Main vs. Barndogs and Red Raiders vs. Budmen at 8:45 a.m.; State Farm vs. Wild and Lights out vs. Bukkaki at 9:45 a.m.; and MS&L vs. 4th Line and Perras Vs. Ice Hogs at 10:30 p.m.

Action resumes at 1:30 p.m. with JAC Tower vs. Life Net, followed by Henophy vs. North Country and Labatts vs. Plattsburgh at 2:15 p.m.

The Open quarterfinals begin at 3:15 p.m., with the Rec semifinals kicking off at 4 p.m., the Elite quarterfinals hitting the ice at 5 p.m., the Open semifinals taking place at 5:45 p.m. and the Elite semifinals getting underway at 6:45 p.m.

The Rec finals will be at 7:30 p.m., followed by Open finals at 8:30 p.m. and Elite finals at 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Post said a welcoming party will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Open Net, and a closing party will be held following the tournament at Coach’s Corner.

He noted that, whether the games are inside or outside, they’ll have a hospitality tent being catered by Coach’s Corner and An Italian Affair, where cold beverages and items such as calzones and pizza rolls will be available. The arena concession will also be open during the tournament.

Mr. Boprey said that they’ll continue to monitor the weather conditions, and he’ll work with organizers to determine if the games will be inside or outside. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, however, “I would probably be advising them not to (have them outside),” he said.

If the tournament is moved inside, it will mark the third year that Mother Nature has played havoc with the games, Mr. Post said.

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