Crystal Cup’s return ‘didn’t miss a beat’

Last weekend marked the return of the Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Challenge after a three-year absence, and the event was a smooth success. 

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This year's Crystal Cup champions were the Jagr Bombs, which consisted of players from the Fort St. John Huskies.
This year’s Crystal Cup champions were the Jagr Bombs, which consisted of players from the Fort St. John Huskies. ( Jordan Prentice, )

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Last weekend marked the successful return of the Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Challenge to Charlie Lake after a three-year absence.

According to event organizer Neil Evans, the Crystal Cup planning committee was “ecstatic” with the way the event panned out. 

“It’s almost like we didn’t miss a beat after being gone for three years, and then coming back to this – it was right where we left off. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend,” said Evans.

Event organizers drop the puck during the opening ceremony. ( Jordan Prentice, )

Although slightly cold and windy at times, for the most part, the weather held up nicely over the course of the weekend, making for excellent pond hockey playing conditions. 

For Evans, the Crystal Cup is about more than lacing up the skates and hitting the ice. 

“It’s creating community,” said Evans.

“You’re getting people out here, getting them active, bringing all your friends out, family, loved ones, it’s just a great time out here.”

Evans said a highlight of the weekend was seeing new faces out on the lake. 

“Lots of people who have been with the event for years and years are volunteers and sponsors, but the general public that we’ve seen out here this weekend, I’ve never seen out to the event in the past.”

Games were in action until late Friday and Saturday night. ( Jordan Prentice, )

Not only were event-goers able to support their friends and family playing in the tournament, which spanned across twelve rinks on Charlie Lake, but attendees could also enjoy a massive beer garden, free helicopter rides, and tons of kids activities from a toboggan hill to a paint pit. 

Plenty of activities were available for kids over the weekend, including a skills competition with the guys from “On The Bench.” ( Jordan Prentice, )

Kids also had the opportunity to work on their skills with Jacob Ardown and Olly Postinen of the hockey duo “On The Bench.

When asked about next year’s Crystal Cup, Evans said there are some small things the committee will consider during the planning stages. 

“We have been talking about maybe creating a competitive versus recreational setup for gameplay, but that’s going to be up for discussion, so it might not happen,” said Evans. 

“But as a whole, we love the way everything went last weekend, and we will try to add bits and pieces more to it in the future.”

Evans added his gratitude for the volunteers who helped during the event and the sponsors who helped make the event possible, from financial support to manpower, tools, and equipment as well. 

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