Griffins repeat as pond hockey champions

Griffins’ player Darren Goulet was also awarded tournament MVP prior to the Crystal Cup presentation.

Even though the same team from year one got to hoist the cup, what was different about year two was the overall attitude at this year’s Crystal Cup. Unlike year one, when people were forced to battle through minus 35 degree weather, this year players and spectators had the privilege of enjoying some sun, warmth and a great day with family and friends.

Tournament coordinator Neil Evans spoke about the vast improvements from the tournament’s inaugural year last year.

"Phenomenal actually. Everything came together perfectly. It was down to the last minute doing the setup, but all the teams played all their games pretty much for the most part… A lot better than last year, the weather was awesome, up until it got a little warm out there [Sunday], but the ice [Monday] was perfect."

Evans added that despite the great amount of hockey played, the best part for him was seeing all the families gather at the rinks and enjoy the great outdoors, something he described as "picture perfect".

This year’s tournament also welcomed a special guest of honour to drop the ceremonial opening puck, 18 year NHL alumni Dave Babych, who said witnessing the outdoor tournament was a bit nostalgic for the former Vancouver Canuck.

"I love [outdoor hockey tournaments], just because I grew up on the outdoor rinks, and we had a farm outside Edmonton where we had a lake. Even my boys, I have five boys and when we use to go out there for holidays you couldn’t even get them off the lake. So I know what these guys feel like, it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s always the same feeling when you get outdoors."

With a smile on his face, Babych also talked about possibly putting his own team in next year, or even joining a team that would be looking to enlist the services of an hockey veteran.

All in all, it was a great long weekend on Charlie Lake, full of sunshine, smiles and, of course, an ample supply of hockey, something Neil Evans says he envisioned when he came up with the Crystal Cup idea.