Peace River Record-Gazette

We came out with some bumps, bruises and chipped teeth but it was all worth it. The Record-Gazette’s Hookers and Slashers were the only all-girl team to take the ice last weekend for the Alberta Pond Hockey Championships and we proved we could keep up with the guys.

Thanks to the Town of Peace River team, the Hookers and Slashers didn’t go winless. In all, organizers deserve a big hand for pulling off a top-notch event. Kudos to John Haney, Gord Drummond, Jennifer Thietke and James Bazan-Lindsay and the countless volunteers that shoveled snow, cleared the ice, served coffee and other warming brews, sold 50/50 tickets and the many sponsors that made it all a reality.

Teams that travelled from far were impressed with the event and the hospitality of the Peace. The Peace Region continutes to set the bar high and exceed expectations with regional events that draw crowds from across the province.

We have no doubt that Pond Hockey will continue to flourish in the Peace Region with double the teams flocking to beautiful Lac Cardinal next year…

Hector Goudreau, MLA Dunvegan Central-Peace, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“The annual pond hockey tournament is the largest winter event in Northern Alberta. It incorporates six local municipalities as partners, depicting close community relations and efforts to promote our region. The event also partners with local, provincial and national media in print, radio and television. It is largely supported by individuals throughout the region, with approximately $350,000 given to the event each year as Gift in Kind.

As an event of such large magnitude would, this event has a large economic impact on the entire region. Our hotels, restaurants, and stores benefit each year from this event. This impact is made clearly by visitors from throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Ontario who attend the event each year. Approximately 50 per cent of the teams travel a distance in excess of 200 km to attend the tournament. This is obviously a significant tourism event for Northern Alberta.”

Frank Oberle, MLA Peace River Constituency, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security

“The Alberta Pond Hockey’s Lac Cardinal Tournament is a celebration of Canadians’ famed love of hockey and rekindles in us a time past when players used Eaton’s catalogues for shin pads and played on outdoor rinks that needed to be shovelled before the game could start. Aside from being a fun-filled family celebration of the spirit of the game, this event has grown to where it is having an economic impact on area communities. While drawing together 6 municipal partners, hundreds of volunteers, and attracting national media attention, the event remains as a pure celebration of Canadian winter and the game of hockey. Congratulations to all involved.”

Iris Callioux, Mayor, Town of Peace River

“Hockey is Canada’s national sport. In northern Alberta, with our long winters, hockey is not only a sport but a way of life that encompasses physical activity, enjoyment of the outdoors, social engagement for the entire family with friends, opportunities to become involved and meet people through volunteerism and host of other elements that make for a very vibrant community. The Alberta Pond Hockey tournament on Lac Cardinal has become the embodiment of all of these attributes.”

Brian Allen, Mayor, Town of Grimshaw

“This event has contributed to the rise of pond hockey tournaments across Alberta and has formal relations with Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise which hosts an affiliate tournament. The Alberta Pond Hockey Association is a major player in Alberta Tourism especially for Northern Alberta.”

Shelly Shannon, President, Peace River & District Chamber of Commerce

“Over the years their event has contributed to the local economy, strengthened community spirit and assembled a network of devoted volunteers. This particular event has given us a substantial amount of exposure and brought the Peace Region into the national spotlight.”

Dorothy Malone, Secretary, Grimshaw and District Chamber of Commerce

“Their Board of Directors (APHA) has worked diligently to organize volunteers and assistance from six neighbouring municipalities to synchronize the largest winter event in northern Alberta. The event hosts 88 teams and visitors from as far away as the North West Territories and Ontario. Hotels, restaurants and the retail sector have felt the economic benefits of the weekend event which creates some excitement in the middle of our long winter. The event raises the awareness of our region and encourages visitors to return for a summer vacation, creating a two-fold benefit.”

Chris Black, General Manager, YL Country/ KIX FM, Peace River

“There are many obvious challenges living in the north with a smaller population base, but the organizers do a commendable job compiling resources and volunteers from all neighbouring municipalities in order to make things work. In fact, the tournament has become the largest winter event in the territory with economic impact on participating communities exceeding $300,000. The event has undoubtedly put our region on the map by attracting many out of town teams and spectators, and, through media coverage on a provincial and national level.”

Kevin Karius, Global Sports, Edmonton

“In my 20 years of covering sporting events, the Alberta Pond Hockey Championships is at the top of the list. It is one of the premier events in all of Canada. The organization of the championship, from everything to the actual hockey to entertainment, is exceptional. It’s a can’t miss event that is Smokin hot, in the cold of winter.”

Rob Williams, Senior News Producer, CTV Edmonton

“As a kid, skating on the pond in winter was the greatest. I always scored the overtime winner in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Thanks to the Alberta Pond Hockey tourney, I’m able to relive some of my favourite childhood memories. And that includes the frozen toes!”

Clark Gillies, Former New York Islander, Hockey Hall of Fame 2002

I had to pleasure of being invited to the Alberta Pond Hockey Championships in the Peace Region last February and I will never forget the experience. I did not know what to expect never having been to an outdoor tournament like this, I was so impressed with the amount of rinks and the quality of ice surface they were able to attain, growing up in Saskatchewan I played plenty of hockey outdoors but this was something very special. I recommend the tournament to any group that has the opportunity to participate.

Bryan Trottier, Former New York Islander, Hockey Hall of Fame 1997

“The Alberta Pond Hockey experience ranks as memorable as any tournament I’ve ever been to… from the games to the off ice events, Peace River community and its sponsors do a terrific job. My time was sharing stories with eager hocky fans and enjoying the uniqueness of a northern Alberta city who threw out the welcome mat for all who yearned for the environment of an outdoor hockey game, some hospitable friendly northern Alberta people or just plain old fashion, healthy family fun entertainment. I left with a wonderful memory and wish the town of Peace River continued success with the Alberta Pond Hockey. A great reflection on hockey and an even better reflection on Peace River, Alberta, Canada.”

Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

“The Peace Country is a vital part of the Oil Country community and has been a stellar host of the Alberta Pond Hockey Championship for four years. This event is an amazing opportunity for teams from all over our great province to join in on some good ol’ fashioned shinny and celebrate all that hockey is truly about – sport, community, teamwork and dedication. Hockey has the ability to bring together old friends, build new friendships and create an unparalleled bond between people all in the name of fun and wellness. The Oilers look forward to once again participating in this year’s festivities.”