Today’s Poll

“Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s hockey night tonight…”

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 10th, 2011

By Andrew Zwicker
Rossland Telegraph

You couldn’t be blamed over the weekend if you were humming Stompin’ Tom’s unofficial Canadian Anthem as you walked through town. While the goalie didn’t jump, the players did bump and the fans all went insane as someone roared and

The Outlaws scored at the good ole pond hockey game.

Gifted with glorious sunshine and perfect temperatures for maintaining an outdoor hockey rink, the BC Pond Hockey Championships went off without a hitch after being delayed for a week by unseasonably warm and wet weather.

Local ice-maker extraordinaire Raymond Von Diebeisch was out hosing down and manicuring the ice throughout the week leading up to the event and by puck drop on Friday night had a good 30cm’s or more of cold hard ice down on the Emcon lot.

“I’ve got to give a huge hats off to the ice that Ray was able to create,” extolled organizer John Reed. “He did a phenomenal job going way over, above and beyond the call of duties. The ice was phenomenal!”

Due to the rescheduling of the event just 15 of the 27 initially registered teams were able to make it, but sunny skies, hard ice and the sense of sportsmanship and cooperation that taking the game to the pond brings out kept the action hot and the puck cold.

One wander around the events ground over the weekend and the subtle and not so subtle differences between the arena game and the pond game were readily apparent.

From costumed players dipping into celebratory beverages together before the sun was even high enough to clear the shadows to the no goalie, non-stop style of play and high scoring affairs there was a noticeably different vibe from that of your typical rink.

In the men’s competitive division the KVR Gilnockie Ruttin Bucks regained their title as Western Pond Hockey champs. The Bucks, winners of the inaugural tournament three years ago put a licking on the Top Shelf Construction team in the finals with a 27 -16 victory to claim the title.

The Bucks include Jarod Seminoff and Aaron Shrieves of Nelson.

Following a slow start which took some time to adapt to pond rules, The Outlaws after losing their first game of the tournament, picked up a secret weapon for the rest of the tournament and went unbeaten into the finals.

“We had to learn to keep our shots down as we kept missing the net in the first game with the short little nets,” explained Mark Brooks of The Outlaws. “That first game we were basically just running and gunning and didn’t really have any strategy.

“From game two on we started working on covering our men a little more and trying at least to make it look like we knew what we were doing.”

Adding a local “over 50 year old” as they put it, local teacher Wayne Antsey brought the missing piece to the puzzle and the boys never looked back despite a chippy semi-final game against the Tighty Whiteys.

In true dramatic fashion the rec division finals came down to overtime. During regulation time the Outlaws were leading significantly and appeared to be cruising to victory. Pond Hockey has a few unique rules however. At the end of regulation each team’s penalties from the games are tallied and the difference in number of penalties goes to the opposing team as goals.

That tied the game up and sent it into overtime where ultimately Lifeworks were defeated 27-25.

“It’s just a ton of fun,” added Brooks. “We love coming up for this tournament, the whole weekend is just a great time with some good hockey mixed in.”

In the last two tournaments, on the women’s side, Jackie Haines played a key role for the Wild Things.

This year however she decided to form her own team made up of some of the younger Smokettes and Chicks with Sticks players and in a grudge match of sorts ended up facing her old squad in the finals. Ultimately the Wild Things breakaway player came back to bite them in the final as the Organic Drycleaners knocked them off for the title in a 16 – 5 final.

“It’s always fun to be able to play in a tournament like that with a whole bunch of your friends you know,” added Haines. “It’s especially fun when a lot of the girls in the area are teammates in our regular league. It gives us a chance to break up our regular routine and have some fun on the pond. We’ll be back next year to defend our crown for sure.”

With a successful third year of the tournament now in the books Reed is looking forward to next year and is working on a few tweaks to fine tune the crowd favorite event for next year.

One change Reed is hoping to make is to take the weather guessing game out of the equation after having to reschedule due to weather the past two years. The hope is to secure the Rossland arena for tournament weekend next year so that regardless of weather the event will go on with a full slate of teams.

With the winners in each division winning free entry into both the National Pond Hockey Championships in Ontario as well as the Northern Regional Championships in Prince George next year the top teams will surely be taken where, the hockey players, face off down the rink and their beer cups will be filled up for the champs who win the drink.


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