Notes from the Pond, continued
With a healthy lunch and a quick nap (okay, we're older - those late nights take there toll) we are ready to go for our first legitimate win of the tourney, a late afternoon match against the gentlemen from the Muskoka Docks
It is a game that will be written into the record books as "what might have been"
We arrive at the rink site only to find out the remaining games of the day are to be cancelled because of bad ice conditions. The lake has grown so soft that skates are sinking into the surface with pools of water visible on all the rinks. The players are disappointed but not without alternatives.
A team from Pickering, celebrating one of their player's fortieth birthdays, engage in an impromptu game of rugby, while Choo Choo Bonewagon and the Stratford Phantoms stage a rematch of last night's game, this time with their boots on.
The break in the action gives us a chance to talk to the man behind the tournament, Neil Lumsden.
Lumsden, to his credit has been very hands on and a great presence on the pond. He is always in full view, watching games, greeting players as they leave the ice, even stepping it at one point when one match was getting out of hand.
With the good weather as his enemy, and the possibility of more games out of the question, he is in the midst of trying to make a difficult decision.
"Do you think the guys will be angry if we cut off one of their games"
We re-assure him that most players will get over it. Especially us. The plan now is to pray for a freeze and allow the remaining contenders to play their fourth game tomorrow.
With that out of the way, I ask him how he thinks its going
"We knew within an hour yesterday that we were going to do it again next year"
And I have to agree with him. It's a great event. For the most part, spirited and well organized. But it also has growing pains that he was well aware of. We took the opportunity to make a few suggestions that he listened to openly.
Sunday morning coming down...
Lumsden and the organizers have decided to let the teams still in contention play for the final spots. Apparently one team is 5-0, and thirteen teams are at 4 and 0. The final games start early. At least they didn't have to cancel it.
We go down to the lake to see what is happening. It's ten-thirty and the officials are still working out the final sixteen. The situation looks tense but under control. TSN is setting up to telecast the final match. They are there to shoot a documentary to be shown three times during February. Hope they got my good side. With the snow coming in, we decide to pack the van and head home.
And the winner is..
The Rink Rake Grey Beards defeated a team from Barrie 18-9 and will be the first one to have their name on the men's trophy. On the women's side, Concordia defeated the Canadore College Panthers 21-5, to claim bragging rights.
Our wish list for next year:
With this first year out of the way, we're looking better to an even better tournament next year. Here's what we're hoping for
- We get asked back and steal the trophy from the Rink Rake
- A better breakdown in divisions. Perhaps a break at twenty five to thirty five and thirty five and over might be ideal. Or an open vs. competitive arrangement could also work.
- No night games! Without proper lighting on the rinks, it's an accident waiting to happen Start the tourney early. Let the local and Toronto teams play around noon on the Friday.
- A central board with the scores and standings posted on a regular basis.
- Benches betwen the rinks. It would be nice to have a place to sit down to put on our skates
Congratulations to Lumsden and crew, and all the guys we played against at Huntsville for one heck of a tourney. See you next year.