By Jim den Hollander
Ultimate Tournaments has been a part of the regular hockey season in Sauk County for more than a decade. This year the tournament series will return with its regular dates, including some massive events on Martin Luther King Weekend in January and President’s Day weekend in February.
The tournament offers a unique hockey experience for the teams that attend, with deals offered in the community’s top waterpark resorts, offering a great family weekend with parents and children provided with an exciting experience on and off the ice.
Ultimate Tournaments owner, John Schwarz and Tournament Director Johnny Schwarz also provide weekend jobs for dozens of referees, scorekeeper/timekeepers and directors in more than one location.
The Lake Delton Ice Arena is generally the primary arena on tournament weekends, but Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA), Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo and the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) frequently host games as well. Ice time rentals in Reedsburg, Baraboo and Sauk Prairie directly benefit the youth hockey organizations in all three communities.
Old School hospitality and updates is combined with modern era methods in making the players, parents and coaches up to date on all that is happening. In the arenas, Paper schedule/standings sheets are updated within minutes of the completion of every game and updates are also available online at http://www.ultimatetournaments.com thanks to John Schwarz who uses a home office in Chicago to keep everyone posted, often to events in more than one location on the same weekend. Schwarz’s office is jokingly referred to as ‘Toronto,’ as it serves a similar function to the NHL’s replay center in the Canadian city.
Players have become familiar with the ‘goodies’ provided to team managers at the start of each event, providing some hockey related items to welcome the players to the Dells. Also provided is an information book outlining the many activities available in the Dells and the cloth bag the items come in is a handy piece of equipment the manager can use for the remainder of the season.
While the Dells is the original home for Ultimate Tournaments, Schwarz now runs similar events in St. Louis, Chicago and as of this season, South Bend, Indiana.
The tournaments have some new names and a new look this season. The Dells tournaments will start in with the ‘Northwoods Showdown ‘21 Nov. 12-14 followed a week later by ‘Bucks And Pucks.’
The Martin Luther King Weekend event is once again a double tournament now known as the Glacier King Championship. With an extra day available, this has traditionally seen several Friday to Sunday Divisions along with some that begin Saturday and wrap up on the holiday Monday. This year the events will be run together Jan. 14-16 and Jan. 15-17.
A week after, the Cheddar Cheese Classic will be held Jan. 21-23, 2022 and the Dairyland Classic will also debut in 2022.