Huge pond hockey tournament set for West Prince this weekend
'It's just a whole bunch of people that are playing it for the sport'
The P.E.I. Pond Hockey Championships are happening this weekend, despite torrential rains Monday that washed away much of the volunteers' ice-making efforts.
The annual tournament is a fundraiser for the West Point Volunteer Fire Department, and usually attracts between 25 and 40 teams.
"There's been a group of guys at the fire department that have been hauling water to it ... to build it up, and that's what they've been doing for the last three weeks to a month," said Harvey Stewart, one of the event's volunteer organizers.
Stewart estimates firefighters have used about 380,000 litres of water the last month to flood the area.
The surface now is "a bit rough," he added, but the fire department has its own Zamboni, donated years ago for the tournament, to smooth out the six ice surfaces.
This year the event has moved to the Mill River Resort, and runs from 9 a.m. till dark. There's a warming tent for spectators with a canteen, and the resort has created a skating surface for children, too. As many as 300 people have attended in the past, Stewart said.
Pond hockey has different rules, generally to make the game safer. There are no goalies and only four players per team, with short nets just 20 centimetres high. The games consist of two 15-minute periods.
All players need is a stick, gloves, helmet and skates to participate.
"Just the way you would have played it on the pond years ago," Stewart said. "It's just a pile of fun, is what it is. It's just a whole bunch of people that are playing it for the sport."
Bad weather cancelled the tournament only once before in the tournament's 12-year history — during the epic snowstorms of 2015.
More information on the event's Facebook page.
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