WEST POINT – As rain and freezing rain fell on Wednesday members of the West Point Fire Department were back at Stewart Enterprises’ excavation pit tending to a huge patch of ice.
After spending the coldest week of the winter preparing the patch for this weekend’s P.E.I. Pond Hockey championships, they are not about to let a little bit of moisture rain on their parade.
“There’ a whole crew of them back there. They’ve been going day in, day out,” said firefighter Sandy Stewart.
The Fire Department’s ninth annual P.E.I. Pond Hockey championship begins Friday evening with games played under the lights. There are 50 teams registered for this year’s championship, the most ever. Games continue throughout the day on Saturday.
There’s pub and trivia at the West Point Harbourside Centre on Friday night and an adult dance there Saturday night with music by Rock Bottom.
Stewart said there was about eight inches of ice on the pit when firefighters first started preparing it for the pond hockey championship. The cold snap served to swell the thickness of the ice to two solid feet.
While the warm weather isn’t welcomed, it’s better that it happens on Wednesday and Thursday than on the weekend.
There’ a whole crew of them back there. They’ve been going day in, day out - Sandy Stewart, member of the host West Point Fire Department
There’s one good point about the mid-week thaw: it softened the ground enough for machinery to smoothen the roadway into the pit, Stewart noted.
“As far as the ice surface, it’s not going to hurt it,” Stewart said, adding that volunteers are working through the rain to keep snow off of the surface so it can be made ready as soon as the cold weather returns Thursday night.
It took volunteers two days to build the partitions that divide the ice surface into 10 hockey rinks and one large casual skating surface.
It is on the skating surface that the events tent is pitched. There are heaters, tables and a canteen, complete with home-cut rink fries in the tent where players and skaters can go to socialize, energize and get warmed.
Stewart said most of the department has helped with the preparations, and all members, as well as other community volunteers will be on deck to keep the championship running smoothly throughout the weekend.
“It’s pretty hectic, but it’s a great fundraiser,” he said.
Proceeds from the annual event help equip the host fire department.