UPDATE: Thursday, 11:45 p.m.
The Digby Scallop Gods won their first game Thursday night 15-5 against the Tilley Titans. Because goals are important for deciding who plays Sunday, the teams can't afford to not the run the score up. Good start boys!
Games were played Thursday in -32ºC. Forecast there is for sun for the weekend. Warming up to -14ºC tomorrow.
A local team is at the World Pond Hockey Championships.
Jeremy Sanford, Scott Moore, Jeff Sunderland, Rodney Pulley and Matthew Dill are representing Digby on the big pond in Plaster Rock, N.B. from Thursday, Feb. 7 to Saturday, Feb. 9 and maybe Sunday, Feb 10.
“We’ll get home Sunday unless we do well,” says Sanford. “We just want to win one game. We just don’t want to finish last.”
The WPHC started out in 2002 with forty teams from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Maine. It has since grown to include 120 teams from every province, 35 states and 15 countries.
Close to 800 teams apply every year—the top 16 teams are invited back and the other 104 teams are selected by lottery.
The teams are divided into 20 divisions of six teams.
The boys are guaranteed five games; one Thursday night, two Friday and two Saturday.
The winners of each division and the other top 12 teams play Sunday.
The atmosphere gets more competitive on Sunday and the format is tougher – they play single-elimination 30-minute games—the teams that make it to the final will play five games Sunday.
Organizers used to use a couple pick ups with plows and measuring tapes to make the 70’ x 140’ rinks on Roulston Lake; now they use a fleet of trucks, skid steers, snow blowers and GPS to create the 20 rinks.
The Digby team plays about two nights a week in the Digby league and lately they have been holding a couple extra practices to get used to the smaller ice surface and short nets.
They’ll wear a little less gear for pond hockey and Sanford hopes that will translate into a little more speed on the ice.
Sanford says the last time he played hockey on a pond was 15 years ago.
The biggest difference will be the ice itself.
“I expect it will be a bit different,” he says. “I expect there’ll be cracks in the ice and snow banks to contend with.
“It’ll be fun. Something different. A challenge.”