A small hockey rink in rural New Brunswick is gearing up to host its biggest tournament ever this week.
The small village of Fredericton Junction will host the Maritime Hockey North Junior Hockey Championships at the Tri-County complex starting Wednesday, with teams coming from as far away as Nunavut.
"I think it's the biggest thing to ever come to the area," said event organizer Steve Ewart. "The rink opened in 2009. We've held curling championships here, but we've never hosted a Maritime championship, so to me it's the biggest thing to ever to come to the area."
Five teams from four different provinces and territories, including all Maritime provinces, will play from Wednesday until Sunday next week.
The small community has a population of around 750 people, but Ewart says that number will swell during the hockey tournament.
"We've got tons of people just coming to help set up, organize, and we're setting up a pub with a chef," said Ewart. "It's going to be huge, there's a lot of buzz and there's a lot of people planning to come from outside the community."
Players, most aged between 17 and 21, will have to travel about 30 minutes to the ice each day from their hotels in Fredericton because the community has no hotels.
The defending team from Nunavut will arrive in New Brunswick Monday, but Ewart makes no bones about favouring the hometown Tri-County River Cats.
"I already told our team that if they win we'll hold a social at my own place. I haven't told my wife that, but we'll host a big social."
The first game starts on Wednesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. with the gold medal game playing at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 3.