Hope’s Nordiques outlasted the Wasted Knights of Abbotsford in the championship match of the 16-team St. Patrick’s Day tournament

Hope’s Nordiques outlasted the Wasted Knights of Abbotsford in the championship match of the 16-team St. Patrick’s Day tournament

‘Don’t eat the green snow’

Sixteen teams rang out the hockey season on St. Patrick's Day.

If you noticed a pile of green snow in the Hope Arena’s ice dump before St. Patrick’s Day: no, the Zamboni driver didn’t mow down a field of shamrocks.

It was simply a big experiment that went wrong. “Bigly wrong,” as Donald Trump might say.

Mark Petryk, who co-organized the St. Patrick’s Day hockey tournament with Dan Small, said there had been an attempt to tint the playing surface.

“It started back in probably September last year,” said Petryk. “I was searching on-line and saw a tournament in Ontario where the ice was green.”

Petryk got the OK from the Hope and District Recreation Centre’s Todd Hadway and came up with the necessary mix.

“We got some food colouring from Rolling Pin Bakery,” said Petryk. “Sixteen litres of green, mixed with water. The ice crew took 45 minutes to spray it on, on the Tuesday night and once again for two coats. Then they sprayed a clear coat on top.

“It looked good,” he added. It was transparent, so you could still see the lines and markings, too.

“But Wednesday morning, when the Zamboni hit the ice, the warm water pulled the colouring right out. Tuesday it was green, Wednesday it was white again. The snow pile in the parking lot was green.”

The crew then went back to a tried and tested technique and used ice paint to add large shamrocks in the open areas of the ice. No problems there.

“Todd says he’s going to try out some ways of doing the green before he takes out the ice,” added Petryk, who suspected the glycerin and sugar in the food colouring might have contributed to their problems.

In many other ways, the weekend was a hit, though — with 16 teams taking part, 11 from out of town and two of them being women’s teams.

“Originally we had four women’s teams but two had to pull out,” said Petryk. “We created a division of two women’s teams and four other teams of average age 45 and above.

Action had begun on Thursday night, with three games amongst local or nearby squads. Friday, teams from as far away as Seattle, Grand Forks and 100 Mile House hit the ice.

“It worked out very well,” Petryk said. “The biggest challenge I had to overcome was trying to tier 11 teams from out of town that no one knew. You’re just taking people’s words for it, on how good they are. We had a Saturday morning revision and fixed the problem.”

For Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, teams were placed in “B” and “C” groupings of similarly-skilled players.

“Sixteen is a lot of teams to host on one sheet of ice — and trying to keep good ice times so people could have a good time, socializing,” said Petryk, who was also in charge of the mezzanine-floor beer garden.

“We got in touch with a rep from City Central Brewery, who I had met at a beer and food tasting night at 293 Wallace,” recalled Petryk. “He brought me this growler of beer, which he said was an ‘easy-drinking lager, great for beer league hockey.’ It was great, so we ordered a load of it. Beer League Lager was the only beer we had all weekend.”

Music and beer pong games kept things lively on Friday and Saturday night.

“Dave Mercier with ‘Sound Asylum’ rocked on Friday with some sick tunes,” said Petryk. “And Rob Steel from ‘Steel Entertainment’ dropped some sick beats, Saturday night.”

By Sunday afternoon, it was down to four teams in the B and C finals.

“The women’s team, Chilliwack BFP, which stands for ‘back-check, fore-check and pay-cheque,’ went to the C final against the Agassiz IceDawgs,” said Petryk. “The ladies won. It was a close game.

“A team from Abbotsford, with an average age of 57, the Wasted Knights, went to the B final against the Hope Nordiques. They were tied going into the third. It was the second game on Sunday for the Knights and they only had two lines, where the Nordiques had three, so the Knights were tired.

“The Nordiques won by two or three.”