After months of preparation, the first annual B.C. Eastern Regional Pond Hockey Championships have come to a close. Twenty seven teams participated in the three-day event, featuring well over a hundred participants from across the region, prompting organizer John Reed of Adventure Architects to call it a “fantastic” event.
“I think the weekend went great,” Reed said.
“Everyone is happy, and I’ve heard back from some teams that are committed for next year, which is good—we made some great contacts within teams in terms of creating an opportunity to tap into their network of friends and colleagues, as well as people who are actively interested in promoting this.”
Invermere itself rolled out the red carpet for the visiting pond hockey players, with the whole community showing their hockey spirit with a variety of decorations and specials at local businesses.
Cathy Parkes and Birken Kirk won the Centre Ice Art Contest hosted by Pynelogs in their respective categories, and Kicking Horse Cafe won the local window decorating contest, hosted by the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce Pond Hockey Committee.
Player and member of team Black Press Dave Hamilton of Fernie said he had a great time and is looking forward to returning next year.
“The town was awesome,” Hamilton said. “They did a great job with all the organization of it, it was on schedule all the time and the ice was great, and I thought the whole town did a really good job of welcoming everyone.”
Thanks to the overall success of the tournament, Reed says he is definitely coming back next year, and while there are a few kinks they would like to work out in terms of logistics and some technical aspects, he’s confident that next year’s event will be even better.
“(It was great) seeing it come to fruition and seeing it come to focus, it’s different every time you set it up and you don’t really know what it’s going to look like,” Reed said.
“The community was phenomenally involved, from the art contest to all of our partners — Invermere is great, it’s a very supportive, welcoming community with a great bunch of people, and it’s stunning — it really is a beautiful location.”
Tournament winners included the No Regretzkies, the Nominds, the Ice-Holes, and the Walker’s Auto Repair Warriors. While the total number of teams fell below what had been originally expected, Reed says he’s aiming for a large improvement for next years’ event.
“I’d like to say that we’ll double the number of teams from this year,” Reed said. “I think that’s a realistic and obtainable goal.”