Dates confirmed for 2016 Polar Pond Hockey tournament

Polar Pond Hockey on the Hay River, near the fishermen's wharf. The community will soon get a new fish plant and year-round pavilion, meant to support the fishery in the community.
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The eighth installment of Hay River’s Polar Pond Hockey tournament has been confirmed for the weekend of March 4.

As has become tradition, the outdoor hockey event – which attracts teams from across the country – will be played on the Hay River near the fishermen’s wharf.

Teams of four can compete in one of three divisions with smaller nets and no goalies.

Curtis Rowe helps put the tournament together. He’s expecting anywhere from 30 to 50 teams to take part in this year’s tournament.

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“I think the most we ever had was close to 50 [teams],” he said. “Every year we seem to get a lot of teams out for it, it sure is a great event and a lot of people turn out for it.”

Roughly 35 teams took part in last year’s event. The most the tournament has ever had was 45 a couple years back.

Rowe spoke to Moose FM about what’s on the line for competitors.

“More bragging rights than anything, but primarily everyone’s out there for fun,” he said.

“You’re going to have some teams playing with their brothers, their moms, aunts and uncles or just with their buddies. There’s kind of something for everybody.

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“I think the most special part though, is seeing how far people will come just to be a part of the event. We’ve had teams from as far as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

“We’ve had a lot from across the North of course with Fort Providence, Fort Simpson and Fort Smith usually sending a few teams.”

Rowe says there’s also good representation from northern Albertan cities like High Level and Peace River. He’s also hoping for a number of Yellowknife teams to register.

This year’s tournament is being held almost three weeks earlier than last year’s since many of the event’s volunteers will be heading to Nuuk for the Arctic Winter Games.

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Rowe isn’t convinced this year’s milder winter will impact the tournament in any way.

“After eight years I think we can probably make ice out of just about anything that river will throw at us.”

To learn more or to register a team, check out Polar Pond Hockey on Facebook.

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