Polar Pond hockey twice the party despite colder temperatures

The party was twice as big this past weekend as the second annual Polar Pond Hockey Tournament got underway.

Despite bone-chilling winds, the teams were high-spirited and ready to play and a few die-hard hockey fans were out cheering on their players.
Friday night was the kickoff, with a live performance by the Eastenders, free chilli and fireworks helping to keep everyone warm.
By Saturday morning, the windchill dipped near -30°C, but all the teams were out in uniform, with a few even in costume.
One team wore chicken outfits, while the Buffa“Low” Riderz wore buffalo hats. One group even got creative and used phone books as their shin guards.
But when the teams were not braving the cold to get a game of shinny in, they were found inside the tent enjoying the food and company available.
“It has got to be the biggest event of the year,” said Wayne Schaub, a player on the Buffa“Low” Riderz.
Players from outside Hay River were present as well. Many had made the trek from Yellowknife, High Level and even a few from Vancouver.
“Oh, it has been tons of fun,” said Matt Walsh of High Level. “And it seems to be a mixed bag of locals and southerners. It is a great time.”
Sunday brought slightly warmer temperatures and the finals in all three categories.
Players skated hard until the standings were narrowed down to two in the open, women’s and old timer’s divisions.
For the women’s, it came down to the Hot Mamas and the Shotz, with the Shotz taking the title.
The old timer’s division title went to Pepsi Old Generation who beat out the Vancouver Island Old Dawgs.
The open division, and the qualifying match for the World Pond Hockey Championships came down to the Sandy Blew Jay’s and the Norland Panthers. In a first-to-three match, the Jay’s pulled through and solidified a chance at a world title. They will be traveling to Plaster Rock, NB to bring Hay River’s pond hockey to the world stage.
Curtis Rowe, organizer and teammate of the Jay’s thought that the weekend was a great success.
“There was definitely more than last year in terms of teams and spectators,” he said.
His team will be off to Plaster Rock, NB in 2011 to show off Hay River’s hockey talent on the world stage.
“We are looking forward to that,” he said. “It is a nice perk.”