It wasn’t the World Cup of Hockey, but some world-class people came together recently to face-off in one of the most fun and unique hockey experiences you’ll ever see.
The Comox Valley Draft Hockey Tournament debuted to great success on Labour Day weekend, attracting players from Alberta, B.C. and Washington, as 54 male and female adult hockey players including a contingent from Vancouver Island participated over the long weekend.
“The tournament’s format, unique culture and awesome uniforms make it a weekend you’ll never forget,” said Stu Tunheim, local contact for the tournament. “There is always a fun and inclusive atmosphere on and off the ice. It’s by far the most enjoyable hockey out there.”
The unique tournament format has individuals sign up without a team and then put into draft rounds according the skill level. The teams are drafted at the Friday night “draft party” by way of a unique draft process involving adult beverages.
“The goalies get to play captain and draft their squad round by round. When it’s your turn, a goalie will hand you a jersey for your new team,” said Dani Chicoine, a regular at these events. “Then it’s time to put your game face on. You’ll compete against the rest of your draft round in a drink-off to decide what order the teams will draft the next round of players. You may be surprised how much strategy comes into play!”
“I really enjoyed the high caliber of recreational hockey and all the fun,” said Comox Mayor Paul Ives, who laced up for the event. “The camaraderie was amazing and the economic spin off for restaurants, pubs and accommodations was phenomenal. I know speaking to many of out-of-town players that they quickly fell in love with the Comox Valley and will definitely be back.”
A “World Keg of Hockey” theme to honour the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament was used. Team Canada took the trophy after beating Russia in the gold medal match. The Russian squad earned a spot in the championship game after upsetting the top-seeded U.S. team in the semifinal. Sweden beat the U.S. in the consolation final to take the bronze.