GRAVENHURST - A bitter deep freeze hit Muskoka at the right time and the seventh annual Pond Hockey Tournament at the Muskoka Wharf is a go.
IT’S A GO..
The seventh annual Muskoka Pond Hockey Tournament is on at the Muskoka Wharf, thanks to the recent cold snap the area experienced last week. Already 60 teams are registered to play on 18 rinks that will soon be marked out for the Feb. 8 to 10 event. To register visit onthepondcanada.com or phone 705-313-6702.
Organizer and creator Rob Carleton was thrilled about the nip and said the event, set for Feb. 8 to 10, is shaping up to be one of the largest to date in Gravenhurst.
“We’ve got 60 teams coming in already this year and we’ll be building 18 rinks,” he said. “That cold really helped out; the ice is already well more than a foot thick where we need it to be.”
Teams in three categories will compete for a cup, bragging rights and cash prizes in whatever weather is thrown at them that day on Lake Muskoka’s ice, directly out front of the Boston Pizza there.
Last year about 55 teams took part on 16 rinks and Carleton is happy to see the event continues to grow in size and reputation each year.
“It’s really a great time; fresh air, friends, hockey — what more could you ask for,” he said, adding he will accept more team registrations if anyone else still wishes to join in.
There will also be a chance for three local minor hockey players to earn a weeklong visit to former NHLer Kris King’s Hockey School in Gravenhurst. Youth are being asked to write a short story about why they love pond hockey and the top-three entries will win. Participants are asked to drop their entries off during the weekend event to Boston Pizza
“And we also have another really big announcement to make that day, so everyone will want to be there for that,” he added, saying that the thus far secretive announcement will be made at some point Sunday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., when King will also be on hand to sign autographs.
The tournament festivities will begin on the Friday with registration from 3 to 10 p.m. and a pre-tournament party at Boston Pizza. Opening ceremonies will take place Saturday at 9:45 a.m. complete with bagpipers, a town crier, the national anthem and a ceremonial puck drop at 10 a.m. to kick off the games, which will run until 5 p.m. that evening.
Games then continue on Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. with the championship game scheduled for 4 p.m.
If anyone would like more information about the tournament, the minor hockey contest or is interested in volunteering or registering a team, check out the website at onthepondcanada.com or call Carleton at 705-313-6702.