© Submitted photo
Players participate in the ninth annual P.E.I. Pond Hockey Championship at West Point last year. The tournament drew more than 50 teams of four last year.
WEST POINT - Organizers of the P.E.I. Pond Hockey Championship will be checking the ice surface here this week in anticipation of next month's annual outdoor tournament.
The 10th annual tournament hosted by the West Point Fire Department is set to go on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8.
Until then, focus will be on the ice and finalizing teams for the tournament which draws hundreds to the community.
"It (the ice) depends on the weather, of course. Last year we had really good ice and we're hoping to get out this week to have a look. The guys were already out prepping it but it has thawed a little bit," said Tina Dumville, one of the organizers. "They'll use the firetrucks to flood the surface and make it even before the tournament."
The championship raises funds for the fire department, with money having previously gone towards purchasing equipment, a fire hall expansion as well as buying and renovating an old pumper.
No equipment is required for players other than a helmet, stick and skates as teams of four take on each other in a number of outdoor rinks created on the large surface. Homemade nets with small slots cut out are used instead of goaltenders.
Organizers always set space aside for younger children or family members that just want to go for a skate, while last year also saw volunteers serve up more than 500 pounds of home-cut rink fries to attendants.
"It's a great vibe, it's a great family weekend activity," said Dumville. "We usually have picnic tables set up and a lot of people enjoy just watching."
Games will go until about 10 p.m. Friday evening and all day Saturday with a trophy presentation after 4:30 p.m.
The tournament is held at Stewart Enterprises' excavation pit, with signs showing directions posted throughout the community in anticipation of the weekend.
"We have a great community behind us," said Dumville. "All the firemen, their wives and the community put it on. We have a great group of people."
With last year's 52 registered teams being the biggest turnout in the tournament's history, Dumville said organizers are hoping for another stellar year.
Those looking to register for the tournament or wanting to make a donation can do so by contacting Stephen Stewart before Friday, Jan. 31. At (902) 859-3400 or (902) 206-0001. There is a $100 entry fee per team.
The group also has a Facebook page called "PEI Pond Hockey Championship hosted by the West Point Fire Dept."