› Advisories

1,700 Converge on Huntsville Pond starting Friday, Jan 29 for 5th Annual Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships

Reasons for Play as Varied as Team Names and Uniforms - Games Begin Friday at 1 pm

- Gigantic 24-rink outdoor pond covers 260,000 square feet of Sunset Bay - 200 players compete at any given time
- Some yearn to sip from the Maple Cup. Others content making statement with Pond Fashion.
- Walter Gretzky Hosts 2 Sports Memorabilia Auctions for CNIB

The contingent of players bent on braving the elements for the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships equals about one-third of the total competitors in the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Another stat speaking to the size and scope of the event ... The 750 games to be contested this weekend and next is the equivalent of more than one-half of the NHL regular season.

If there is such a thing as pond hockey culture – this is it! The allure of the pond attracts players from numerous Canadian towns, and the USA, with entries this year from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and South Carolina.  Some yearn to sip from the Maple Cup. Others are content making a statement with Pond Fashion.Everyone from school teachers to CEOs and retired factory workers converge on Deerhurst Resort for the world's largest pond hockey event. "This my once-a-year chance to get together with my life long friends who are scattered all across the province, and its a chance to be kids again," is the most common motivator.

The allure of the pond won-over Bell-Blackberry as presenting sponsor for 2010 intrigued by the opportunity to connect to this unique piece of hockey culture.

The forecast for opening day is mainly sunny with a daytime high of minus 16 – the perfect conditions to enjoy gorgeous vista’s of the 24 rinks carved out of Sunset Bay against a backdrop of rolling hills and Muskoka pines.  Photo Desks – this is a great photo opp – 200+ players competing on 24 rinks all at once.  Team names and uniforms as unique as the personalities and styles of play. No goalies. No refs! 6 inch high nets!

Action runs Friday 1pm – 7 pm, Saturday, 8:00 am to 6:30 pm, and Sunday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.   Visit www.canadapondhockey.ca for the complete team list. To download the schedule click here

Opening weekend action culminates with the crowning of the men’s and women’s Canadian National Pond Hockey champions, and the recreational champs. The Master’s Championships follows February 5-7.

Honorary Coach Walter Gretzky – who will attend  for the 2nd weekend – describes the pond as “Taking you back to simpler times.  There's a purity in playing outdoors in the elements.  It's a place of dreams."

With Gretzky’s Brantford backyard rink ‘Wally’s Coliseum” immortalized in hockey history, event Executive Director, Neil Lumsden expresses pride in welcoming Gretzky's attendance and recognition. The world’s most famous hockey dad will raise event stature AND funds for the Walter & Wayne Gretzky CNIB Blind Youth Scholarship Program.  Over $1.2 million in scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the fund. To help continue the charity's, important work, Gretzky will host two sports memorabilia auctions – one exclusively for competitors, their families and volunteers, and another for the general public.

People’s motivations for participating are varied. Some players aspire to lift the legendary hard carved Maple Cup, while the majority are content to regain a lost part of their youth while avoiding frostbite.  Yes, there are challenges like early games after late nights, or slipping into the hot tub with frozen toes, but each year these players, young(ish) and old(er), both male and female, continue to defy the odds and survive the weekend. Battered and bruised, frozen and exhausted, they shake hands with competitors and declare “I’ll see you next year”. 

Why you might ask, would someone subject themselves to this?  Because this is Canada….and this is pond hockey! 

The classic two-weekend affair will feature competitive and recreational championships for both men and women showcasing the spirit of Canada's game.  Come meet the teams that make this event, the greatest outdoor Hockey event in Canada.

Call today to arrange your on-site requirements, or an advance interview with Neil Lumsden.

Media please report Deerhurst Resort reception for your media kit , or proceed directly to the pond.  Ask for Chris Moore or Gary Holloway.

POND TWEETS - Watch for tweets under the tag #CNPH beginning Thursday.

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

For Interviews Prior to Friday please call Neil Direct
Neil Lumsden, 905.961.6030 neil@canadapondhockey.ca

On site media contacts for opening weekend:

Chris Moore
905.719.1888
cmoore@okd.com

Gary Holloway
gary@canadapondhockey.ca
905.638.4226