Contingency plan in place ahead of weekend festivities
Warm weather wreaking havoc on annual pond hockey championship
The 12th annual EF Moon Western Canadian Pond Hockey championship will be moved inside Stride Place due to the unseasonably warm temperatures expected. (BRIAN OLIVER/THE GRAPHIC)
Mother nature will not ruin what has become a winter time staple in Portage la Prairie.
A contingency plan has been put in place to ensure that the unseasonably warm weather expected this weekend will not put a damper on the 12th annual EF Moon Western Canadian Pond Hockey championship.
“We’ll still play it the old pond hockey way,” explains Travis Foster, Portage Pond Hockey committee chair, except for one glaring difference. The 2017 edition of the tourney will take place from inside the confines of Stride Place, rather than outside, like in year’s past.
The long range forecast is calling for temperatures to reach as high as 7C Friday and staying well above zero throughout the weekend, rendering the outside ice surface unusable.
“Stride Place scrambled to see what they can give us. We’re going to run three games at a time on ice surfaces inside the arena, when there is an opening,” added Foster. “The problem is, there’s a Squirts tournament running all weekend. We were pretty much given late Friday, early morning Saturday, then evening and late Saturday night (for ice time).”
Foster expects the weekend to operate much the same as if the games were played outside, except for a noticeable lull in action between morning and evening games Saturday afternoon. But between the Squirts action and the beer gardens, competitors will have plenty to keep busy with.
“We hope that it doesn’t scare off people for the afternoon but we’ll do what we do, at least we are still able to run it,” he added. “The thought was to still try to maybe have some games outside, but (because of the warm weather) there is just no way.”
Foster is putting the finishing touches on the revised schedule ahead of this weekend’s action. Tournament schedules can be found online at portagepondhockey.com and at Stride Place when available.