End of the line for 3-on-3 hockey program, says organizer

The 3-on-3 hockey tournament run by Dan Pettypiece, and later John Sleigh, has been discontinued.

The 3-on-3 hockey tournament run by Dan Pettypiece, and later John Sleigh, has been discontinued.

Special to the RTT


After 18 years, Frozen Pond 3-on-3 (formally Tri-Com Hockey Programs) will cease to exist, the program’s founder has announced.

The program started with four age groups (novice, atom, pee wee and bantam) and then quickly added a fifth (midget) the next year.  The 3-on-3 took place on Tuesday nights in July and August and saw 200 players participate each night at the height of its popularity.

“About five years ago numbers at the midget level started to go down and we eventually had to combine them with the bantam group,” said Dan Pettypiece. “Unfortunately the last few years there has been a drastic reduction in the number of participants enrolled and that forced us to make the very difficult decision to cancel. “

Pettypiece said some of the factors they feel resulted in the demise of the program include:

1.   Economy – Parents are finding it much more difficult to afford extra-curricular activities.  They are less likely to put their children in multiple programs at the same time (baseball, soccer, and hockey) and are having them choose one or the other.

2.  Flooded Market – Back when we started hockey programs in 1980 there were no other programs in Amherstburg and not very many in the county. Now there are several hockey schools in the area (including at least three in Amherstburg) and the market has flooded.  Again going back to the economy there are only so many dollars available for this business.

3.  Changing Philosophy – When we started this program we wanted to provide a hockey activity with little or no structure where the kids could just go out and play and have fun without the competitiveness over shadowing the main objective fun. It would allow them to be on the ice once a week during the summer and play a game they love.

“We wanted it to emulate a bunch of kids gathering to play on a pond or backyard rink where there would be very few rules and they could be free of too much structure,” said Pettypiece. “Now it seems that there has been a shift in philosophies and parents are leaning more toward the structure of hockey training in the off season even at the younger ages.”

Pettypiece thanked John Sleigh for taking over the program four years ago when he decided he no longer wanted to run it.

“On a personal note this will be the first time in 35 years that I have not run or helped operate a program in Amherstburg, so I guess you could say it is an end of an era in this town,” Pettypiece added. “As much as I am saddened by this, I am very grateful for all of the years and loyalty the people of this town and surrounding communities have given me.  I will continue in my role as co-director of the South Windsor Power Skating Program so I look forward to seeing some of you at the rink in the future. Thanks for all the memories.”

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