Another amazing weekend at the Jasper Pond Hockey Tournament
By baggedmilk9 months ago
For the second time in as many years, we made our way to the mountains for the Jasper Pond Hockey Tournament on Lake Mildred at the beautiful Jasper Park Lodge. From the moment we arrived on Friday to check in to the words I’m writing that are hitting your eyeballs right now, this was another amazing event put on by the team at Tourism Jasper that we all feel very fortunate to have participated in. The scenery was beautiful, the facility immaculate, and I couldn’t feel luckier to have been a small part of what was a fantastic weekend.
If you’re ever looking for an incredible time in the mountains or to cross something off your hockey bucket list, I beg you to consider the Jasper Pond Hockey Tournament that happens every January at the Jasper Park Lodge. Not only is the venue incredible on its own, but there are very few opportunities in life when you’re able to play some hockey in a setting quite like what you get on Lake Mildred. Backed by the postcard that is the rocky mountains on three sheets of ice that the staff cared for meticulously, this 4v4 tournament is unlike any other and I feel fortunate to be writing about what can only be described as a weekend to remember.
And after settling into our rooms and knocking back a cheeky cocktail to fire up the engines, we spent an hour or two having some of the funniest conversations I can remember before making our way to the Beauvera Room for the Hot Stove that featured Frank Seravalli, the On the Bench boys, and Boomer and Pinder from Flamesnation. One of my favourite parts about this tourney is the way the Hot Stove sorta sets the tone for the weekend because it lets you know right from the jump that we’re all there for a good time. Not only was it fun to watch the boys do their thing and rip each other every chance they could, but we also got the room buzzing with excitement for what was to come. As someone that played in the tournament last year, it was fun to see the new faces in our group and beyond getting excited to play some of the coolest hockey one could ever imagine.
As for the tournament itself, the best way for me to describe it is as a must-do for anyone that wants to experience hockey in its purest form. On Saturday morning, we layered up and hit the ice for what was an incredible day of games and general shenanigans. While I will absolutely admit that the Sherwood Ford sponsored Team Play La Bamba was not the fittest of squads, what we lacked in energy we made up for with heart. And even though it wasn’t the prettiest hockey you’ll ever see — we probably could have used a practice or two, to say the least — we still finished the tournament with a 2-0-1 record and memories that will last forever.
Not only is the tournament beautifully executed because the event staff are incredible, but bantering back and forth and interacting with the other participants was just as much fun. Even though we were all there for some casual play, there were still plenty of moments when the competitiveness came through and that made for a fantastic slate of games. There were chirps, there were jokes, and there was even some blood from my boy as you can see in the video above. But whether you were there for the laughs, the scenery, or one of the teams where winning was the only outcome, everyone we met was so incredibly friendly and contributed to what can only be described as a fantastic event.
Last night, we held a viewing party for the hockey game in the conference room and it was a surreal experience considering we were in a room that’s normally booked for weddings and other such festivities that require a suit and tie. But on this specific weekend, we filled that space with Oilers fans, advice at all volumes, and demands to SHOOOOOT, which was a wonderful way to take in a game with fellow Nation citizens in an environment like the JPL. Add in the fact that the boys put a touchdown up on the board, we got the heartwarming EBUG story of a lifetime, and all of a sudden, you’ve got the makings for another wonderful night. But really, wonderful days and nights are what you get at the Jasper Pond Hockey Tournament. From the moment we arrived until the time we checked out, everyone at the JPL and Tourism Jasper took care of us in every possible way and I’m very thankful for the hard work everyone involved put into making this tournament happen.
While there are no excuses for my stone hands and lacklustre fitness, what I can absolutely say with 100% confidence is that I cannot wait for this tournament to roll around next year because we will be there with bells on. The 2023 edition of the pond hockey tournament was something I will never forget, and I want to say thank you to Tourism Jasper, CHE Hockey, and the Jasper Park Lodge for being so welcoming and putting on a show as spectacular as the one we all shared this weekend. I know it takes a lot of planning to put on an event like this and after two years of being lucky enough to participate, I promise that the Jasper Pond Hockey Tournament is something that the rest of you should be mapping out on your calendar for next year. I promise that you will have a blast.
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