Along with 38 teams and a Don Cherry impersonator, great sunny weather made the third annual Polar Pond Hockey tournament another great success.
Three general team pools along with a women’s pool and old timer pool played on eight rinks on the river at the Fisherman’s Wharf this past weekend, with proceeds going towards a new arena for the town of Hay River.
“We are in need of a new arena, the one we have now is over 40 years old,” Greg Rowe, event organizer said.
The eight rinks were maintained with a donated bobcat and two zambonis, rescued from the junkyard and tuned up by Kingland Ford.
The town showed its great support with many local businesses sponsoring the event.
“The sponsorship is rewarding, and the whole town pitched in to help,” said Rowe.
The tournament winners, Northwest Company Voyageurs, will be headed to New Brunswick next year, as they won a buy into the World Pond Hockey Championship.
“We hope to have fun there, I’ve never been to New Brunswick, and I’m excited to represent the territories there,” John Hill said.
“The event has gotten bigger every year, and we got a lot of people from out of town,” organizer Curtis Rowe said.
Greg Rowe said the event isn’t all about hockey.
“It’s about coming out and having fun.”
And with all the hockey, food and beer you could ask for, there is no question why this event has become so popular.
The event also played host to people traveling from Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, Fort Resolution, Winnipeg and Calgary.
Adrienne Dufour, a former Hay River resident, drove 15 hours from Calgary to play.
“I love this weekend, it’s my favourite weekend,” she said.
To kick off the weekend and support the players was Clack Robinson, aka Don Cherry, complete with flamboyant trademark suit, and brash voice, making Hay River’s outdoor hockey event extra Canadian.
Right in the middle of the hockey action, was a curling rink as well, a new addition to the event, with a sign that read “If curling were easy, they would have called it hockey.”
The weekend has become large in the last three years, and has the popularity to become bigger.