Since the first week of January a cast of volunteers from the West Point Fire Department have hardly missed a day of travelling to Mill River Resort in Woodstock to help prepare ice for this Saturday’s P.E.I. Pond Hockey championship.
Three times since they’ve started preparations their efforts were washed away by thaws.
“It went right back to grass three times,” Gordon Dumville said after arriving at the park Tuesday morning and breathing a sigh of relief that their large skating patch had survived Monday’s thaw. A manhole, discovered long after the flooding operations commenced, allowed some of the water from the thaws to escape. Volunteers have taken to packing that spot with wet snow so that it freezes over.
A tanker truck was scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon to deliver its twenty-eighth load of water (between 2,800 and 3,000 gallons per load) to the thirsty ice patch. The fire department’s Zamboni is due to arrive on Wednesday to lay down the final big floods before a crew of volunteers go to work, likely Friday, to subdivide the large rink into a half-dozen hockey rinks for Saturday’s twelfth annual P.E.I. Pond Hockey championship.
Organizers opted to move the event to Mill River this year because it is more central and the resort’s winter attractions, including snowshoeing, tubing and sleigh rides, make for a more family-friendly experience.
They will leave the shaping of the snow ‘boards’ until as close to competition time as possible, explained Elmer Dumville, because it is much easier to clear snowfall from one large patch than it is from a series of outdoor rinks.
Entries for four-person teams are still being accepted on the West Point Fire Department’s Facebook page or by calling Stephen Stewart, (902)206-0001 or 859-3400. Proceeds from the annual championship support the West Point Fire Department with its fire-fighting equipment needs.
An events tent, to serve as a change area and a concessions stand, and portable lighting will be erected at the site later this week.
Looking to the long range forecast, Elmer Dumville said weather conditions are positive for a good day of outdoor hockey on Saturday.