Drop the ball, let’s play

Lake Days: Road hockey tournament goes top shelf with 20 teams in bid to liven up festival’s Sunday

The annual road hockey tournament has grown to the point where it is one of the signature events of the Lake Days on Sunday.

The annual road hockey tournament has grown to the point where it is one of the signature events of the Lake Days on Sunday.

Road warriors and hockey aficionados of all ages are gearing up for the seventh-annual Cowichan Lake Days road hockey tournament Sunday.

With 120 players from 20 teams registered for the one-day tournament, organizer Kelly Bergstrom said the rosters are full and he’s no longer accepting new players.

“The schedule’s already made up and the shirts are ordered,” Bergstrom added.

For a $10 registration fee, players will receive a free t-shirt, food, a guaranteed minimum of four games’ worth of fun, “non-competitive” hockey and a chance at winning one of the countless prizes up for grabs.

“We hope to have every kid get a prize,” Bergrstom added. “That’s our goal and we usually come close every year.”

Games are 20 minutes long, Bergstrom said, and scheduled to be played four at a time from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on South Shore Road and at the Saywell Park parking lot.

Bergstrom credited the “break-even” event with helping to revitalize a sleepy Lake Days Sunday.

“This isn’t a money raiser at all,” Bergstrom said. “We’re just hoping to get one or two kids out playing hockey. (The Lake Days Society) doesn’t make a single nickle off of it. It’s a break-even event for the good of (Lake Days.) The Sunday of Lake Days was pretty much dead until road hockey started and it really brought it back up.”

Players will be divvied up into teams based on average ages, Bergstrom said, and medals will be awarded in each age group.

The tournament’s being billed as a fun, family-oriented event, but Bergstrom said it tends to “get pretty competitive,” especially when it comes to the adult division.

As a result, the tournament’s being played in full protective gear, Bergstrom said, with players using tennis balls and “whatever they want” for hockey sticks.

Set to a backdrop of deejayed music, the tournament has proved to “really be a lot of fun,” Bergstrom said.

Hosting the tournament wouldn’t be possible without the help of their many sponsors, Bergstrom said, and he credited fellow organizers Vicky Bergstrom — his wife — and Jody Hieta for providing invaluable assistance.