There is perhaps nothing more pure than the feeling of a winter’s wind whipping at your concentration-covered face, feet moving gracefully along a freshly flooded, hallowed sheet of ice, hands firmly gripping a rigid hockey stick, destined to blast a hunk of frozen rubber into a gaping net, and all the while the sounds of nature singing its gospel into the never ending chasm known as outdoor hockey in Canada. Hockey is a game that was meant to be played outdoors; on sloughs, ponds, or basically anything that’ll stay frozen for three periods. With outdoor hockey games finally reaching its fingers back into the NHL it seems that the craze will loiter on backyard rinks for some time to come. And with the third annual Golden Pond Hockey Tournament being organized for February 12th & 13th, locals will have their own chance to mirror their favourite hockey stars all the while skating around in the brisk mountain air.
“There is nothing better than playing a game of hockey! And getting the chance to play an outdoor tournament is even better,” Event Co-ordinator, Brad Cable said.
A tournament that started back in 2009, the Golden Pond Hockey Tournament has become the “thing to do” for anyone who thinks they have what it takes to tighten up the skate laces. Although the tournament is a competition, you certainly do not have to be a professional or take yourself too seriously for that matter in order to tangle on the ice. Two divisions will be in place: one for the Wayne Gretzky wannabes, the other for the fun seekers (a competitive and fun division). Either way, it is all about the game, the scenery, and having a Stanley Cup of a good time.
“It kind of seems that hockey is on a sort of downswing in and around Golden these days. But, events like these, we hope, will revitalize the sport within the community,” Cable added.
Water levels on Reflection Lake, a place where the event was held back in 2009, are lower than usual, the decision has been made to host the tournament on four flooded surfaces at the Golden Eco-Adventure Ranch in Nicholson instead.
The rules of the tournament are simple: games are three on three with a maximum of five players per team, games will consist of two 10-minute halves with a two minute intermission in between, all players must wear skates and a helmet, there will be no goalies, and all other basic rules of the game will apply; the idea of sportsmanship and fair play is also expected.
The day and location will consist of an indoor warming station and staging area, a BBQ and dinner hosted by Canyon Creek Catering, and a dance.
The cost to enter your team is $250 before February 1st and $350 after February 1st. The entrance fee includes four games, dinner, a dance featuring Retrofied (tickets will be available at the door at a cost of $25 for those interested in attending who are not playing), and a tournament t-shirt.
All proceeds from the event will be going towards supporting the Golden hockey community, which includes Golden Minor Hockey, the Golden Jr. B Rockets, and the Golden Nationals Hockey Society.
“All of the proceeds from the events will be going towards the sport of hockey in the Golden area. Specifically, some of the funds will be going towards Golden’s Pee Wee team in order to assist them on their travels to this year’s provincials. The Golden National Hockey Society will be earning money from the refreshment stand (beer gardens). And there will also be a donation made to the Golden Rockets,” Cable explained.
As for anyone or any business interested in helping to sponsor the event, there are four distinct levels of sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $50 – $500.
To learn more about the event or its official rules, visit: www.goldenpondhockey.com. There is a maximum of 24 teams being accepted this year, so be prompt. To register a team or for sponsorship information, contact Brad Cable by email at: email@example.com, or by phone at: 250-344-0305.