It’s called “The world’s most unique hockey experience” and “…a hockey weekend you will remember forever.”
And it’s coming to the Comox Valley.
From Sept. 2-4, the No Contact Hockey League is bringing its NCHL Draft Tournament to the Comox Valley Sports Centre, where co-ed teams of all skill levels will gather for three days of fun and games.
The weekend starts with a Friday night draft party, where individuals are drafted to a team. Players can register by themselves or with friends and spend time getting to know new friends and teammates.
The draft process makes sure every team is competitive by averaging the team skill level. The whole weekend is one big hockey party, everyone is friendly and no one cares about your skill level.
To learn just how much fun draft night is, check out www.drafttournament.com. Players must be 19 and older to attend the draft party, and 18 and older to play in the tournament.
Every tournament has its own set of themed uniforms (the Comox Valley theme is TBA) and the players get to keep the jersey, pants and socks.
The tournaments are held all over North America and there are many regulars on the circuit. One is Ironman Jim, who will be playing in his 22nd consecutive tournament in Courtenay.
Organizers expect there will be four to six teams at the inaugural Comox Valley event, with approximately 100 players. Entries have already been received from Alberta and Washington State, and Comox Rotary Club past-president Stu Tunheim wants local players, particularly beginners, to be sure they join the fun.
Registration is open and can be done on the tourney website.
Both Tunheim and Comox mayor Paul Ives have been to several Draft Tournaments and have had a great time at each one. They approached the NCHL about bringing a tourney to Courtenay, and enlisted the Comox Valley Destination Marketing Advisory Committee (CVDMAC) to help make it happen.
The CVDMAC has a Sport & Event Attraction and Expansion Grant Program to support existing events and attract new ones which will bring overnight stays to the Valley. The tourney website has details of accommodation options, including a Buddy Bonus for those who register with two or more friends.
CVDMAC chair Bill Anglin sees a lot of potential for the tourney, both in terms of how the event runs and the things visitors will find to do while here, then spread the word when they return home.
Tunheim noted the event has several different goals. “To bring people here to come and enjoy our community and have a good time playing the sport they love; also to benefit us economically a little bit as well as have some new players for local players to play with.”
Ives notes there has been a real growth in adult hockey here, and says this tournament is a great time for players of all abilities to improve their skills “and not have to worry about being super competitive.”
“It’s for all levels, beginner to competitive, all inclusive, and co-ed…lots of women play. It’s like a highly organized shinny ice time,” Tunheim added. “Everybody knows each other on the ice and everybody has a lot of fun.”
Following the Friday night draft party, teams will play three games on Saturday and two on Sunday. “Everybody gets to play in a championship game on Sunday,” Tunheim points out.