By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
Rain, snow, freezing cold or chinook winds will not stop Hockey Day in GA from taking place this Saturday, Feb. 10.
The plans are set no matter the winter weather for the ninth annual 4-on-4 pond hockey festival hosted by the Gleichen Pond Hockey Association.
“We have had it so cold in the past where players came off their shift and headed into the blue heated tents to warm up. We have also had it be too warm and had the kids play ball hockey instead,” said Shannon Zieman, president of the association. “We will be ready to go no matter what.”
Registration for the event is now closed, but as of earlier this week, Zieman had tallied more than 65 entrants from the surrounding area.
This event has been a great opportunity for young hockey players to play with kids they have never met before, as all entrants are shuffled up in their age group and placed onto eight-man teams for four-on-four action. Games last 45 minutes.
Kids range in age from four to 17. In the past, kids from Fort McMurray made the trip, while it’s common practice to have participants from Claresholm, Beaumont and Bow Island make the trip.
“It’s all about a fun day of hockey,” said Zieman. “The kids meet new people, the parents get to interact with new people and it brings the community together.”
The first puck drop is slated for 9 a.m. with games running into the evening. The score of each game is kept, but there is no trophy as an end prize.
“We want the games to be competitive, but it’s not a competitive tournament,” said Zieman. “We just want to have a fun day at the rink for all the families involved.”
Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor rink in addition to the rinks inside Gleichen Arena. A hot lunch will be served, and kids can enjoy face painting and an outdoor fire pit.
“Last year, the weather was perfect,” said Zieman. “We are hoping for the same this year, but we think it will be another great event regardless of what the weather has in store.”