Miramichi Pond Hockey Changes Location

Pond Hockey Changes Location
Mother Nature throws a curve ball.

MIRAMICHI – The Rotary Club of Newcastle has announced the 7th annual pond hockey tournament will proceed as planned. It just won’t be happening at French Fort Cove this year.

Unseasonably warm temperatures in the maritimes during December and early in the New Year have made ice formation on the usually reliable cove location difficult. Rotarian Gary Foley, in charge of ice and rink preparation, has been following the conditions very closely. “We need a minimum thickness, and the recent blanket of snow is hampering ice production by insulating it from the frost and cold. Unfortunately it is not safe enough for us to go out there and remove it. The chances of reaching the minimum under these conditions are too unpredictable to gamble on. The safety of the volunteers preparing for the event and the public come first.”

The venue chosen for this year’s tournament will be the tarmac at the former CFB Chatham airbase. Where military aircraft once parked during air shows, sheets of ice will take shape over the next few weeks. While a bit disappointed to not be on the cove, co-chair Geri Mahoney always looks at the positive. “The good news is the tournament will proceed. With the rest of Canada experiencing cold temperatures, Mother Nature has decided to see how resourceful the tournaments in the maritime region can be. As great a location as the cove is, we just cannot wait and see if we get enough ice. We are grateful to the Miramichi Airport Commisssion for granting us permission to roll out Plan B, and we look forward to being back at French Fort Cove next year. Maybe we’ll call it ‘tarmac hockey’ for this year.”

Rotarian Francis Malley has been given the job to produce the layout of the site, including where all the rinks and tents will be situated. Signs will be clearly posted at entry points onto the base directing the public where to park their vehicles for the event. “It is important for everyone to remember that this location borders on a major north/south provincial highway, and to follow signs and directions. The public will gain entrance to the site off General Manson Way between the Lafarge plant and the HDN building. General Manson Way is best accessed from Retirement Miramichi. There will be ample parking close to the event.”

Co-chair and teams coordinator Pat Perry reports the number of entries is proceeding well. “The number of teams coming from outside the area continues to rise every year. Between the Early Bird entries and those securing their spot since then, we are on track to have another successful year.” Pat’s message for those planning to play and not registered yet is simple. “A new location always brings new twists, so we may be limiting the numbers to ensure things go smoothly. If you want to play, there is only one week left to enter your team.”

The 7th annual Miramichi Rotary Pond Hockey tournament will be held at the former CFB Chatham airbase on February 4th-6th, 2011, with the net proceeds going towards Rotary projects. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Donnalu Derry at 622-2334 or by e-mail at . The deadline to enter the tournament is Friday January 21st, 2011! Six different divisions are available, with the youngest age possible being 10 years old – there is no upper limit. Registration and payment by credit card is available online at www.MiramichiRotaryPondHockey.com. See you on the tarmac!

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