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Posted by Tom Lambert | May 10, 2024 | Powering Michigan

After a tough week of severe weather, Southwest Michigan could use some positive vibes, joy and smiling faces.

And that’s exactly what it will get this weekend, thanks to an assist from Consumers Energy crews to bring power back in time for a youth hockey tournament.

Twelve hockey teams and their families from across the Midwest are converging on Southwest Michigan for the first Howie’s Hometown Cup. But after damaging storms caused power outages earlier this week, the organization behind Wings West Arena, near Kalamazoo, was worried they would have to cancel the event.

That would have been a hit not only to the players, but it would have also meant missing out on the $250,000 to $500,000 economic impact the tournament is expected to bring the region. That impact will come in the form of 500 hotel rooms booked, and crowds looking to visit local eateries.

The clock was ticking as tournament organizers were unsure power would be restored in time to get the ice and other items ready for the tournament.

Chris Wang, general manager of Wings West, said he was talking to his Zamboni driver to come up with alternative plans when the huge heating ventilation and air conditioning systems kicked on.

“We definitely appreciate the hard work of the crews not only restoring power here, but in our entire community,” he said. “They have made a difficult situation a little better by being here and supporting our community.”

During and after a storm, Consumers Energy crews work fast to protect the public and bring back service to customers. The top priority is keeping the public safe and to restore power first to essential services like hospitals, senior centers, and police and fire stations. Then, the focus is to quickly and safely restore as many customers as possible.

Jane Ghosh, President and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo, the local convention and visitor’s bureau, said a great weekend could result in the tournament being an annual event, and it couldn’t have happened without crews doing their part.

“We know that a lot of families lost power out there and things won’t be back to normal for a while,” said Ghosh. “We very much appreciate crews coming out and helping us with their professional work during our time of need.”

Read more here.

Discover Kalamazoo Sports

Discover Kalamazoo Sports

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Taya Pettis

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