Team Pink had winning smiles after edging Team Burgundy 7-5 in the final match Hope Friendship Hockey Tournament. Clockwise from the front: goalie Ryan Stewart

Hope Friendship Hockey Tournament organizer reflects on event

The tournament is back after a five-year absence after a group of organizers decided to revive it.

The Hope Friendship Hockey Tournament made a comeback Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, after a five-year absence. Originally intended to wrap-up the hockey season in a friendly way, this year it was placed at the front of the schedule, to hopefully generate interest from new recruits to the adult league.

Organizer Mark Petryk said, “I was hoping to have somewhere closer to eight teams but ending up with five, we had to be very creative in the scheduling department and ended up doing a five-team team round robin.

“We had to reduce game times to three 15-minute periods, rather than 20-minute and we increased it to four games per, with a single final game for the top two teams.”

Rather than have one person or a small group in charge of forming the teams, goalies were declared captains and they got to make the selections at the draft party at the Hope Drive-In restaurant, on Sept. 28 evening.

“The draft night was fun,” said Petryk. ”A few goalies showed up, a few goalie designates and also a few spectators. We ended up with just over a dozen people total.

“All 37 participants who signed up on eventbrite.ca were listed on the windows of the restaurant, under their skill level and teams were picked. The old-timers all wanted to play together rather than doing the draft, so they signed up their Tuesday night crowd into one team, which gave us a total of five teams for the weekend with nine or 10 players per team,” said Petryk.

“People ended up picking their friends in the draft anyways, rather than focusing on skill levels and player positions — which definitely made for interesting teams. We took notes of a few improvements we can implement for next year.”

Petryk said the players were mostly local, with a handful coming from Chilliwack, Agassiz or further.

“The youngest players were from HMH midget team, Marcus James, Brandon Pennell, and Damon Campbell, all aged 15, said Petryk, who coached some of them in bantam hockey.

“The oldest player — but most young at heart — would have to be Glenn Riddell at a young 69-ish, playing offence and playing goal tender for the oldsters. Special mention to a 67-ish John Zeiler, who also played on Team Teal.”

It was a co-ed tournament and two females signed up. “Erika Larder, on the offense, would challenge the skill level of most of the experienced players and Brandy Mellof played goal tender, coming from Port Coquitlam to play with her friends and family in Hope,” said Petryk, who had organizational assistance from Larder and Dan Small.

“A few weeks prior to the event we dropped the price to $0 for goalies, and $70 for players, hoping to stir up a few more committed players” he added. “We ended up with seven goalies and had to ask a couple to play out. We managed to drop the price because we collected a bunch of old Friendship jerseys and recycled them.

“Although the eventbrite.ca website made organizing such an event much easier, it didn’t provide the motivation for the youngsters and oldsters that I hoped it would,” said Petryk, who found himself up against too many laissez-faire loungers.

“Hope watches the most TV out of all of British Columbia,” he contended.

To boost numbers next year, he suggested, “One thought was perhaps hosting the event on the Thanksgiving long weekend as players all come home that weekend — but we’d have to schedule the games creatively so they don’t interfere with everyone’s family dinners. But once again, player commitment is going to be key!

“In the end, the event broke even on the financial end of things, mostly due to the beer sales on the Friday and Saturday nights — and to the following sponsors: Silver Chalice Pub, Adam’s Freight Forwarding, Sasquatch Signs, Hope Drive-In & Restaurant, ZEM Falling, Ogilvie Mountain Holdings and Nestlé Waters.”

Teams Blue, Burgundy and Pink finished the round robin with 3-and-1 records, so a goals-for-and-against calculation put Burgundy and Pink into the final, which Petryk said was very entertaining.

Pink came back from a three-goal deficit in the second period to seal a 7-5 win, he said.

“I’m pretty happy how everything went all weekend, as all the teams had lots of fun and thanked us for hosting the event,” said Petryk, who was unable to play due to a foot injury from falling off his mom’s roof.

“Hope Adult Hockey’s AGM is schedule for Oct. 4 and the league is scheduled to start up after the Thanksgiving long, added Petryk. “Any players wishing to be picked up, please leave your name, email and phone number at the front desk of the rec center. Many of the six teams are looking for new players.”

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