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magazine / jf07

January/February 2007 issue


FEATURE

The bush league
Rink rats from around the globe flock to the tiny hamlet of Plaster Rock, N.B., for a tournament that proudly calls itself the World Pond Hockey Championship
Excerpt of story with photography by Brian Atkinson and text by Dane Lanken

It’s quiet around Plaster Rock, N.B., in wintertime, but the little hamlet (pop. 1,300) is on a lakeshore, so a few years ago, some of the locals decided to host a snowmobile drag-racing event on the ice to raise money for an arena.

"It was fun," says Danny Braun, one of the project’s ringleaders, "but it didn’t make any money. So we thought, well, this is Canada, and there’s ice, so we’d better play hockey."


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Braun and his buddies settled on a pond hockey tournament. They divided the ice on Roulston Lake into 20 almost full-sized rinks and settled on a system of four-player teams going head to head in 30-minute matches. They picked a weekend in the middle of January 2002 and stuck up some posters in area arenas. Forty teams signed up, mostly from around the Maritimes. There was some good hockey, everybody had fun, and the arena fund was fattened. Thus was born what has been boldly named the World Pond Hockey Championship.

Now, five years later, 120 teams participate in the tournament. They come from every part of Canada, 22 American states and half a dozen other countries, including the hockey hotbeds of Egypt, China and the Cayman Islands. Six thousand people turn up in Plaster Rock for the big weekend.

For the rest of this story, visit your local newsstand or go to our store to buy this issue.





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