Healthy Living in the North

Keep Your Stick on the Ice: Pond hockey in northern BC

pond hockey, winter, physical activity

During the Fort St. John Winter Festival, over 40 teams will hit the ice to compete for the Crystal Cup – an annual pond hockey tournament.

I’m writing this post is for none other than one of my favorite pastimes … pond hockey! Can you be more Canadian than bundling up and gathering on a frozen lake to watch or play some hockey?!

This weekend (February 7-10, 2014), Fort St. John is hosting the 3rd annual Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Challenge. We have upwards of 40 teams registered from around the north peace area and beyond. The hockey is all played on the south end of Charlie Lake (just 10 minutes north of Fort St. John). We will have eight player rinks, a public rink, a kid’s rink, food vendors and live music.

The story all began in the fall of 2011 when I was approached by the City of Fort St. John to host an outdoor pond hockey tournament as part of the local Winter Festival. The festival organizers wanted to attract a target audience that had been missing in previous years: males aged 19 to 35. Due to my event planning experience and organizational skills, a “bug” was put in my ear and I’m glad it was. I took it upon myself to develop the best pond hockey tournament that British Columbia and the rest of Canada will ever see.

I researched every pond hockey tournament I could find. I amalgamated the rules and regulations that fit our event. I gathered up a team of friends from the local recreational hockey team I play with and we began exploring ways to make it happen. The first two years we learned a lot about organizing an outdoor event in the middle of the winter on a frozen lake in northern Canada. Let’s just say our nerves were shot at times thanks to Mother Nature not playing nice. Although we’ve had many trials and tribulations, we’ve surfaced once again this year bigger and better than ever. This is the first year that we have organized a kid’s tournament because we felt they were missing out in previous years. We also decided to add some pizzazz, so we created a social event and live music right in the gardens. We’ve managed to line bands up for both nights and it should be a great time – a hootenanny if you will!

We welcome you to come and join us! If you want to watch some hockey, come and join us on either Saturday or Sunday – sticks hit the ice at 10am both days. The social night is on Saturday and the music starts at 7pm.

Neil Evans

About Neil Evans

Born and raised in Fort St. John, Neil Evans is an inpatient unit leader at the Fort St. John hospital. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Victoria in 2006. He is a proud father of two sons and is happily married to his wife, Loni. Neil is also an active community fundraiser and event planner. Since 2010, he has raised over $25,000 for Movember and is the founder and president of the local pond hockey event in Fort St. John, The Crystal Cup.

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