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The Times
  • Ice Bowl a big draw for hockey fans, families

  • Men looking like giants in pads and skates on several man-made rinks on a frozen Fourth Lake during the sixth annual Adirondack Ice Bowl could intimidate a little kid.
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  • Men looking like giants in pads and skates on several man-made rinks on a frozen Fourth Lake during the sixth annual Adirondack Ice Bowl could intimidate a little kid.
    But 6-year-old Jacob Olearczyk could move on the ice, too.
    He backed up about 20 feet, pleading for his mom's rapt attention, and got a running start to power slide on his snow pant-covered knees. He'd get up, brush off any snow and do it again.
    "Take a look at my son, the way he's playing right now," said Mark Olearczyk of Barneveld. "This is why we came here."
    The Olearczyks were among the 3,000 to 4,000 spectators and 264 local, national and international hockey players who gathered Friday and Saturday for the pond hockey tournament behind The Woods Inn.
    But Mark Olearczyk admitted there were more reasons that enticed him and his family to make the 45-minute drive to Inlet for their first Ice Bowl.
    It was an opportunity for mommy and daddy to meet new friends, a way to see the inn they camp at in the summer coated in snow, and it was a time for family bonding.
    Jon Latterman, a co-owner of the inn with his wife, said that's been their goal all along.
    "This is really a family event," he said, using the example of Saturday's mid-afternoon kids' hockey event called "mite scramble."
    He and his wife, Joedda McClain, started hosting the event at their inn four years ago. They both tout the benefits to the local economy and having a day of fun in a season known for being shut indoors.
    Latterman said the tournament reminded him of driving his daughter, now grown and living in Colorado, to 4 a.m. hockey practices.
    "Back then, hockey was more personal for me," he said. "Now it's just fun."
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