We live in the Canadian province of Quebec and are lucky to have a natural pond in our yard. In the summer, it’s a popular spot for frogs, minnows, ducks and a couple of magnificent Grand Herons.
In the winter, once the ice is thick enough, it’s converted to a skating rink.
Although it’s not big, Nic and his friends love playing pond hockey there. This year, our pond hockey season started quite late and looks threatened to end early. We had a warm autumn with barely any snow at Christmas. Finally, around New Years, the cold finally came but it wasn’t as cold as usual. Today, with blue sky and bright sunshine, the snow is melting. If the warming trend continues, we will lose our ice. As we all know by now, 2015 was the warmest year on record. The climate change is real: we can see it just out our back door.
Global warming is something a group of pond hockey enthusiasts in Finland are worried about and are using as a platform to raise awareness and urge others to take steps to help change. On February 6th, 24 teams will compete in a 4-on-4 format in the 2016 Save Pond Hockey Tournament. The one-day event, held at the outdoor Kallio Ice Rink in Helsinki, costs 250€ to enter, and proceeds from the entry fees and the growing list of corporate sponsors will go to the Finnish branch of Friends of the Earth.
This is the 2nd running of the event. Last year, 16 teams participated in the tournament which was won by the Kaki All Stars. Although the entries were mostly from Helsinki, there was a group of Canadians that put a team together called the Lumberjacks, which included Vancouver-born Steve Baynes, a Helsinki resident and the tournament’s logistics and sustainability manager.
How it Works
Each team must have a minimum of 5 players, but 8 is recommended and each team is given a maximum of 8 tournament toques (although additional toques can be bought at a price of 30€ each). The players must supply their own equipment: a helmet, stick and skates are mandatory.
It’s a round robin tournament, with some interesting rules. Because it’s a 4-on-4 format, there are no goalies, and the teams are self-regulated — so no referees (whoop whoop!). There are, however, several no-no’s – like no slapshots, no tripping, no slashing. no hitting, no hooking. No shots above the knee. No blocking shots. It’s FRIENDLY competition!
A captain needs to be appointed from each team. There are two halfs of 12 minutes each, with a 1 minute break in between. After the first half, the teams switch ends and once the game is completed, the captains, taking a lead from golf, have to sign the scorecard to verify score of each match.
So…What Can You Do?
Save Pond Hockey is encouraging everyone to make a difference to the climate change crisis. On their website, they’ve listed things you can do yourself to make a difference, including signing a Climate Pledge, calculating your own carbon footprint – and a list of positive actions you can take to make choices that are better for mother earth. Find out more here.