Perfect weather. Perfect ice. A perfect weekend to play pond hockey.
The seventh Varion Pond Hockey Classic begins at noon Friday in Logan Lake, with 29 teams competing in three divisions for prizes, trophies, and a love of the game.
“This year is in fact our biggest one ever,” organizer Dave Prentice said Wednesday.
Those 29 teams will play 91 games in three days. At any one time there will be seven games played on Logan Lake. Prentice said there will be up to 14 teams playing at once.
Twenty-four teams competed in last year’s tournament. There are six players per team.
Prentice credits this year’s success to a number of factors. For one, the classic has its own website, which has helped attract interest from beyond the region.
Pond hockey is also growing in popularity, with tournaments like the Varion Classic popping up all over the country. Logan Lake’s advantage is it’s close to the Lower Mainland, which is where many of the tournament’s teams herald from, said Prentice.
The teams are made up of players from beer league and men’s league hockey teams. Sometimes two teams show up from the same league.
“And then you have teams that are just a bunch of guys who come from different directions, meet in Logan Lake and form a team,” he said. “It’s a very social event for the guys.”
The tournament is split into three divisions: platinum, gold and silver. Prentice said platinum includes the most skilled players.
Games will be played every hour starting with Friday’s noon opener. The action continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. followed by a skills competition with lights supplied by Highland Valley Copper.
“They have the lakes lit up for night time use,” said Prentice.
Championship Sunday begins at 9 a.m., with the title game for the platinum division starting at 2 p.m.
Planning takes place year round, which leaves the tournament at the weather’s mercy. So far, the forecast is perfect, said Prentice. If that changes, the championship game will be moved indoors.
For more information visit varionclassic.ca.