||January/February 2007 issue||
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
"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."
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.
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How do you get through the waning weeks of winter?