Ruttin' Bucks and Lady Stanleys Claim Pond Hockey Crown
For three days last week, mid-town Rossland became hockey central as 300-some odd pond hockey players descended upon (or would that be ascended to?) the Alpine city with hopes of qualifying for next year’s Canadian Pond Hockey Championships.
The Emcon yard on 3rd Avenue and Washington Street, along with the arena parking lot, were transformed for three days thanks to countless hours of volunteer work and long sleepless nights for event organizers. From the Legion cooking up burgers, through KBS broadcasting on site, to the beer gardens and Red Bull party vehicle, a festive atmosphere was created with hundreds of locals and tourists alike coming out to take in this new-to-Rossland event.
Mother Nature provided some challenging conditions for creating and maintaining three outdoor ice surfaces with day time temperatures rising above zero on the weekend. Throughout the day on Saturday, orange spray paint and cones started appearing on the ice marking holes to be played around. Long and sleepless nights spent repairing and flooding the ice, however, resulted in a playable surface, and the event went off without a hitch to the onlookers’ eyes.
The event really brought Rossland to life on a busy sports weekend in town with the Freeskiing Championships going at Red Mtn, and a minor hockey tournament taking place inside the arena. There was a noticeable energy created around the event site that only amplified under the bright lights as the sun set and the atmosphere became much more intimate on a pleasantly cool night.
The unique brand of hockey featuring four-on-four play, no goalies and soccer style throw-in rules for errant pucks going off the ice surface provided fast-paced non-stop action that kept the crowds involved. With some recreational teams in the tournament, and others determined to qualify for the national tournament, the hockey action was fierce.
Sunday afternoon saw the final four teams facing off in the women’s and men’s final before an estimated crowd of around 200 onlookers. On the female side, the Lady Stanleys, who swept their way through the competition all weekend, defeated the Kootenay Wild Things in a thrilling second half comeback that earned them the title.
The men’s final kept scorekeepers on their toes as a new scoring record was set for the pond hockey tournament. In the end, the Gilnockie Ruttin’ Bucks claimed the title over the Benson Oilers with a 36-29 victory.
John Reid, local event organizer, put in a huge effort to attract and pull off the weekend, along with countless others. Upon completion of the final game he shared his thoughts on the event.
“It went great! The event was phenomenal. The sponsorship was phenomenal. The volunteers were the best of all. Everyone had a great time. Just watching it come to fruition and watching the event come into focus was awesome.”
On the question of would he do it again he answered, “Oh for sure!”