Nova Scotia

Long Pond Heritage Classic organizers hope weather jinx doesn't return

Retired NHL pros, including Rich Sutter, Ric Nuttress and Guy Lafleur, will be attending Windsor's Long Pond Heritage Classic planned for Saturday.

Windsor's big hockey event has been hurt by bad weather 3 of the last 4 years

Windsor's Long Pond Heritage Classic has a history of being hit by bad weather, but organizers say this year's event will go on indoors even if the jinx continues. (CBC)

Former NHL player Rich Sutter got a chance to walk across the ice of Long Pond in Windsor, N.S., today before the town's big hockey event on Saturday.

"This is awesome!" he said standing on the historic pond, believed by many to be the birthplace of hockey.

Former Stanley Cup winner Ric Nattress, who will lace up his skates in Long Pond Heritage Classic alongside Sutter, felt the same way as he toured Windsor's hockey museum on Friday. 

"Windsor, Nova Scotia, the history starts here," Nattress said.

Rich Sutter and Ric Nattress (right) will be playing in 2016's Long Pond Heritage Classic. (CBC)

Mother Nature woes

The event supports the Windsor Hockey Heritage Museum. But for the last four years, Mother Nature has thrown rain, snow, sleet and ice on Long Pond. 

  • In 2012, rain turned Long Pond into slush.
  • In 2013, a blizzard cancelled everything, except a Friday evening charity game.
  • In 2014, sunshine turned the event into a huge success.
  • In 2015, an ice storm forced the event from Long Pond and into Hants County Exhibition Arena.

If the weather jinx continues, the year's event will again move indoors to the exhibition arena. But it's the thrill of playing outdoors on Long Pond that brings hockey lovers from North Carolina to Calgary to this event. 

Event organizer Dave Hunter jokes they've been praying all week that Mother Nature gets with the program. 

"This puts our community on top of the hockey world. We've got people coming from everywhere. They know it's the birthplace of hockey, that's why they are coming," he said. 

Shovels are ready

Historic Long Pond is located on the Dill family farm. Danny Dill has shovels ready to move the snow. 

"We'll keep the snow off of it," he said.

They've all heard the talk of the weather jinx. 

"We didn't have it last year [on Long Pond] because we had a blizzard," Dill said. "So this year, maybe. We are getting a blizzard today, but it should be over by tomorrow."

They have their fingers crossed and hope the weather gods smile on them since the event is sold out. 

Another special guest is Guy Lafleur — a Montreal Canadiens legend. He won't be playing in the games, but will be signing autographs.

Premier Stephen McNeil will also be on hand to make an announcement at 12:15 p.m. His government is rumoured to be funding an upgrade to Windsor's hockey museum.

Games get started at 8:45 a.m. 

Danny Dill's shovels are at the ready for Saturday's games. (Colleen Jones/CBC)


World champion curler Colleen Jones has been reporting with CBC News for nearly three decades. Follow her on Twitter @cbccolleenjones.