Chestermere’s first annual Western Canada Pond Hockey Championship will show case the community to out-of-towners while raising food for The Veterans Food Bank of Calgary.
“I’m involved in minor hockey, I’ve been playing my whole life,” said Canada Pond Hockey Championship Organizer Alex Halat.
“I’ve lived in Chestermere the last 15 years, and I’ve always wanted to do something on the lake,” Halat said.
He added, “There’s no better time than now. My kids are at an age now where they appreciate it, but we wanted to throw a charitable aspect onto it.”
“Throughout the Dec. 27 week-end long tournament people can expect hot chocolate, skates, pucks, sticks and a good time”, Halat said.
The Veterans Food Bank of Calgary was going through turmoil when Halat started planning the pond hockey tournament.
“I thought let’s do a weekend pond hockey tournament, show case the community, involve everybody, at the same time raise funds and some food for the Veterans Food Bank,” Halat said.
“We want people to come to the lake and think this is awesome,” Halat added, “This is what community is about.”
Halat’s ultimate goal is to look out onto Chestermere Lake and see 500 people out on the lake at any given time, laughing and having a good time.
“I want to build that community winter feel by utilizing our lake,” Halat said.
The Western Canada Pond Hockey Championships will also benefit the community by bringing in many out-of-towners.
“There will be some economic benefits to our city, to our local business owners. It is around Christmas so it’s probably not as busy, to get that extra three to five thousand people a day coming through our community is going to be nice,” Halat said.
The Western Canada Pond Hockey Championships is open to all ages, and every skill level.
“The beauty of it is we have everything from tyke which is three to four-year old’s, right up to senior division which is 70-year old’s.
“We have competitive and non-competitive divisions, regardless if you’ve played hockey or not there’s still a spot for you. We have male and female divisions, we’ve covered every aspect of hockey, there’s absolutely no reason for someone not to play other than they don’t know how to put on skates,” Halat said.
He added, “We wanted to make this event readily available for everybody to participate.”
Halat is expecting 70 to 100 teams competing during the weekend tournament, currently 20 teams are registered.
“We don’t see this not being filled, there’s no question it will fill up,” Halat said.
He added, the weekend-long event wouldn’t have been possible without the help from community members, including John Kittler from Chestermere Landing, and Trevor Stewart from Pinks and Plates.
“They’ve been amazing to work with, and councils been amazing,” Halat said.
He added, “We want to see this thing be a huge success, and we want it to be an annual event. At the rate we’re going now it should be a pretty cool event.
“At the end of the day we’re trying to raise food for the Veteran’s Food Bank, they sacrificed a lot, I’m sure we could sacrifice a few hours of our time.”
The registration deadline for the tournament is in mid-December. For more information or to register visit the website at www.wcpondhockey.ca/ or to volunteer message the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WCPondHockey4v4/.