Pond hockey, that popular homespun version of Canada's national game, returns to Sudbury in the first week of February.
Already, 30 teams have signed up to play, meaning registration is currently maxed out, said Dan DeNoble, one of the organizers.
Imagine how cool that will be (no pun intended) to see it, let alone consider the possibility of playing in it.
Pond Hockey on the Rock is a charity event with proceeds directed towards Camp Quality Northern Ontario, a camp for Northern Ontario children affected by cancer and Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer.
The tournament is a chance for those who love the game to lace up the blades and gulp in barrels of fresh air to chase that evasive frozen tennis ball back and forth on frozen lake ice.
The only difference this year is that organizers said they cannot have the event take part on Ramsey Lake, partly because of weather and partly due to logistics.
“Sadly due to factors beyond our control we will not be able to return to Ramsey Lake this winter,” said the Pond Hockey webpage.
“That being said, the game must go on. The team at Northern Hockey Academy has stepped up in a big way and made ice time available for our event.”
There will still be outdoor hockey taking place on two city playground rinks - Delki Dozzi at the end of Mary Street and Robinson on Cranbrook Crescent.
But it seems spectators and volunteers are just as excited about seeing the hockey and helping out in the annual tournament.
Organizers need your help. They’re looking for referees, scorekeepers, venue and ice maintenance people, venue set-up on Thursday and Friday (Feb. 2 and 3), venue tear-down on the Sunday (Feb. 5) and parking attendants.
Organizers said there are jobs for everyone, it is all for a good cause and the work is appreciated. If you can’t put together a team of players, a team of volunteers is just as important, said the organizers.
“Without the valuable contributions of our many volunteers, the Pond Hockey on the Rock Festival would be on thin ice!” said the website. “Volunteers are the real winners of this tournament and just like the players on the ice, we need team players of all ages and skill levels in various positions.”
If you can help, check out the volunteer sign-up page.
The event will allow for different hockey divisions to accommodate three player levels — men’s recreation, adult co-ed and corporate co-ed.
The tournament is different in that it has unique rules and timing (three 10-minute periods). Only three players and a goalie are allowed on the ice during play, with a maximum of ten players (goalie included) per team.
Team members are encouraged to check out the rules.
While the organizers said registrations have now reached capacity, they stressed that volunteers are still welcome to sign up and get involved.
Local sponsors are also welcome to step up and lend support.
Organizers said more information will be released in the coming days on the Pond Hockey website as well as the event's Facebook page.
Len Gillis is a reporter at Sudbury.com. Bold is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.