Pond Hockey Championships Ready to Rock

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
January 8th, 2009

Lately as I’ve been walking past the Emcon yard on 3rd Ave. I keep having a slightly modified version of the Monday Night Football song opening run through my head: “Are you ready for some Hockeeyyyyy!”

Pond Hockey, that is. With the Western Qualifying tournament of the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships coming to town from January 15th to 18th, Rossland is getting ready to host hundreds of outdoor hockey fanatics for three days of ponds, pucks and partying.

“At 3,400 feet, this will be one of the most unique settings ever for a pond hockey event. Whether reconnecting with your old pals or existing team mates, this is a chance to experience hockey the way it began,” notes Neil Lumsden, Executive Director of the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships.

So far 35 teams have registered for the event with room for up to eight more to register before the January 13th deadline. Teams are coming from as far as Alberta, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Grand Forks and there will be lots of teams representing the West Kootenay.

You’ve likely noticed the Regional District and Rossland Fire Department hosing down the Emcon lot and the arena parking lot over the past week getting the ice surfaces ready for the three outdoor rinks that will host the tournament. Pulling out of the plan to host rinks out on Nancy Greene Lake due to difficulties in keeping up with snow removal and the distance from town making logistics more difficult, the tournament will now go back to its original plan to host the tournament in one central Rossland location. There will be three rinks built, two on the Emcon yard and one in the arena parking lot. The games will run for three days starting on Friday the 15th afternoon from 2-8:00 PM, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Saturday and 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM Sunday afternoon.

Local event organizer John Reed is looking forward to seeing the big event come to town.

“There is going to be lots of stuff going on in town around the event. The Flying Steamshovel is the pond hockey headquarters. They have a band called Sunshine Drive on Friday and Saturday night; we’ll have KBS broadcasting at the event, Red Bull is bringing in their big party van, and we’ve got a great PA system there. We’ll have an outdoor beer garden and it should be a blast,” explained Reed.

The beer garden will be at the east end of the Emcon yard next to the rinks. The single-door building on the yard will be a changing area and the beer garden will be in front of the other building with tents being brought in and lots of signage and food vendors on site.

“We’ve been working hard on building the ice,” said Reed of the outdoor rink preparation. “We’re doing really well. The Regional District Fire Department and the local Rossland Fire Department have been instrumental in providing manpower. Essentially how it works is we’ve packed the site down, levelled it with snow and then we just put a skim coat of water on it, let that set up put another skim coat and keep that process going until the ice builds up to the thickness we need. KG contracting has been super helpful by providing a Kabota with a plow on the front of it and a blade. We’ve been using that and the fire department has been doing a phenomenal job.”

Teams entered in the tournament will be playing for a coveted spot in the National Championships to take place in Flamborough Ontario on February 14th and 15th playing for the Maple Cup.

If you’re a hockey lover or just looking to support an awesome new local event, come one out next Friday for the start of three days of pond-emonium.

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