The 7th Annual Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Challenge has come to a close, after a fun and busy weekend featuring the traditional adult tournament as well as the first-ever Sid Davis Memorial Youth Pond Hockey Challenge.
“It was astoundingly successful. Sunday was the best day hands-down we’ve had in our seven years, with the Crystal Cup finals and the Sid Davis Memorial,” said organizer Neil Evans.
Evans was blown away by how many people were at the Crystal Cup on the final day.
The Ace Holes won the Crystal Cup open event for the third year in a row. The Rapid Relics were the Coal Cup champs, while the Bar Mat Brews won the women’s division, the Sapphire Cup.
In the Sid Davis Memorial, Pond Crushers won the pre-novice/novice championship, in overtime, against the Goal Fishers. In the atom division, the Ugly Pucklings won the gold medal game. Dusty Depot won the peewee final, while Sid’s Kids won the bantam/midget final.
The Ace Holes beat the Griffens in the final. It was the fourth time the Ace Holes had won overall, with the Griffens winning the other three years the event was held.
“It’s always a great event, and fun to team up with some old friends and play some pond hockey. It’s one of the highlights of my hockey season for sure,” said Dave Alexander, of the winning team.
Shayla Frechette, who played on Bar Mat Brews, said it was a great weekend once again. Her team also won the Sapphire Cup last year. However, there were only two women’s teams this year compared to six in 2017, so both women’s teams also competed against the 40 and older Coal Cup teams.
“We’ll go back next year regardless of how many women’s teams there are, but it’s fun to play against other women’s teams, so hopefully there’s more in the coming years,” Frechette said.
One thing that stood out this year was the weather, as it never got colder than -10 C.
“The weather was perfect this year, the ice felt like a real rink out there. You could make passes and didn’t have to worry about any holes. It was phenomenal,” Alexander said.
A big goal of the organizers this year was to make the Crystal Cup more family friendly, and it certainly was.
“It’s unprecedented what we did with getting that family feeling here. With this youth component it upped it to a whole new level and it’s been overwhelming to see how great it’s been,” said Evans.
Evans said the Sid Davis Memorial will continue going forward.
Steve Passmore, the NHL alumni member and former Edmonton Oilers goalie who was a guest on the weekend, thought the kid’s tournament was a really good idea.
“This is the reason they should do it. The kids don’t get to play pond hockey like we did growing up. Kudos to them for putting it on, seeing the smiles on the kids faces I’m sure makes all the hard work worth it.”
Passmore had never heard of the event prior to being asked to attend, and was left impressed with the scope of the weekend event.
“This was way bigger and better than I thought it was going to be. I’ve been so impressed with the amount of work put into it to make it a professional-looking event,” Passmore said.
It was the Sid Davis Memorial that was the talk of the weekend and left the biggest impression.
“The novice final went to overtime, and the kids threw their gloves and sticks in the air like they just won the Stanley Cup. That was awesome to see,” Evans said.
Todd Alexander coached a pre-novice/novice team made up of his son, Trae, and kids of his close friends, called the Mighty Pucks.
“We don’t normally keep score for kids at this age as it’s more about development. But it was nice for the kids to get used to wins and losses, and the competitive side of things,” he said.
By all accounts, the seventh Crystal Cup was the best yet.
“Those guys do a phenomenal job, especially for being volunteers. What they do is fantastic and hopefully they have enough energy to continue doing it for many years to come,” Alexander said.