A couple of international hockey businesses were scouting Canada for the perfect backdrop to complement an upcoming promotion, and the Columbia Valley Rockies Pond Hockey Tournament on Lake Windermere won their consideration.
“Invermere was the perfect mix of a beautiful location with a great community around it,” said Alex Toul, founder of the France-based Hockey Community, an online network for hockey players of every skill level. “Here you can find much nicer accommodation, as opposed to what you can find in Banff or Lake Louise, for an affordable price, which was key.”
The fourth annual hockey tournament took place between Friday, January 30th and Sunday, February 1st. Mr. Toul, along with his five colleagues, formed a team to take part — and many Canadian teams struggled to keep up. But their purpose wasn’t to win the tournament; instead, it was to capture its sense of camaraderie.
“What you guys have is the purest and best part of hockey,” Mr. Toul said. “It’s friendship, it’s local, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Ice hockey’s most important resource is scarce in France, where he said that each rink must cater to millions of people.
“I started playing when I was nine years old. It was so hard to find any ice time.”
Hockey Community has so far garnered 50,000 members who can connect with other players around the world as well as review stats and tournament info. The site is www.hockey-community.com.
For their trip to the valley, Hockey Community teamed with Olexo — a hockey equipment manufacturer from France. Olexo makes innovative products to drive down the cost of playing hockey, and is about to launch two new products: a versatile net that can arrange targets in the absence of a goalie, and kids’ skates that can adjust in size for growing feet.
“You can make hockey more accessible through greater products,” Mr. Toul said.
The two companies leverage each other’s strengths to promote their brands, as well as the game.
“They make products and we make software,” Mr. Toul said. “We believe that hockey came be made more accessible by sharing great stories.”
In order to tell their story, a production company was hired to meet Hockey Community and Olexo in Invermere for the pond hockey tournamnet, where the two brands were in their element.
“We chose Invermere because the lake looks so big and so beautiful, and the community we found around Invermere was so strong,” said Mr. Toul. “The crew organizing the hockey tournament was so willing to help us get what we needed.”
He said that the tournament organizers offered the use of their Bobcats, and arranged for local kids to take part in the video shoot for Olexo.
Alex said the footage taken in Invermere will need up to two months for post-production, and will then be posted to their Facebook page — The Hockey Community. And hockey players wanting to connect can download their software for free through the Apple and Android app stores.