As Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green.”
Facility coordinator Todd Hadway and his arena crew tried to create a green playing surface for the inaugural St. Patrick’s weekend hockey tournament in Hope last year – but it was a learning experience.
With a different plan this year, it should have a dazzling effect on all who enter the arena.
For a short time last year, a layer of frozen green food colouring made not only the ice but the whole arena take on an air of green.
Then came the Zamboni…
Tournament coordinator Mark Petryk said Monday, “There was a clear coat of water on top of the green but I guess when Todd went out with the Zamboni the next day, it melted through the clear coat and the colour rose to the top.”
Staff then hustled to place shamrock emblems in the ice before the games began.
This year, they went with a green paint-athon on Tuesday evening, adding half an inch of water on top. The paint was applied thin enough that all the hockey markings still show through.
Three staff members – Jayson Gill, Daniel Arrowsmith and Ken Wright – helped with the process, with Petryk on hand to observe.
After the base layer of green ice paint was applied, the crew agreed the ice looked like it would stay green and stay put this time.
They joked they should paint the snow pile outside the arena green, though, to mimic what really happened last year when the food colouring seeped off the arena and out the door.
The tournament kicks off at 2:30 Friday afternoon and there’s not much down-time until the men’s A-event championship ends at about 6 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s technically a wind-up tournament for the Hope Adult Hockey League,” Petryk said. “Our league has only six teams but we have 16 teams in the tournament.
“There’s a four-team ladies’ division, where they’ll play each other in a round robin. The winner will be calculated on number of wins and points and other tiebreakers, if needed. The teams are from Squamish, Penticton, Abbotsford and Chilliwack/Vancouver.
“The men are in two divisions, A and B. We’ve got a couple of teams coming from Langley, one from Kamloops, 100 Mile House and even Renton, Washington,” Petryk said.
“The top three teams of our league were put in the A division with three other teams. I’m in the B division with my team,” said Petryk, who fell off a roof last year and broke his foot before the tournament. “It was a very tight league this year and if we had won our final game, we could have been in second place. We didn’t win, though.”
To ease the schedule last year, there were a few games played on the Thursday night, between local teams, but Petryk said they felt like they weren’t part of the tournament. Well, they will be this time.
“There’ll be a few more unfavourable starts this year – 11:30 starts on Friday and Saturday night and 7 o’clock starts on Saturday and Sunday morning.”
The arena mezzanine will have a beer garden throughout the weekend, with music both nights.
“We’ll have a live band on Friday called Skid Rodeo,” Petryk said. “They’re a good local band that covers classic rock and country.
“Saturday night, we’ll have a DJ from down-valley.”
With the season winding up, Petryk is looking to build numbers for next year.
“Historically, we’ve had 12 or 14 teams but we’re down to six right now. It’s a 35-game season and $5,750 entry fee per team; roughly $400 to $500 per player, depending on the size of the team.”
The ice times are favourable – and there’s no travel.
“We have Friday night and Sunday games and a couple of weekday games with a 9:30 p.m. start at the latest,” said Petryk.
“Any players interested in joining can contact Dan Small or myself, or leave a message at the front desk of the rec centre.”