Pond hockey likely to return to Haliburton
Event owner John Teljeur says ‘it would be hard for me to say no’
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | February 9, 2017|
The Canadian National Pond Hockey Championship turned many heads as drivers whizzed by the Pinestone Resort during the past two weeks, and event owner John Teljeur wants to keep it that way.
“Everybody is so on-board with doing this again … it would be hard for me to say no so we’re absolutely going to do this again next year,” Teljeur told The Highlander Monday.
A total of 120 teams participated in the tournament during the two-week span, requiring the construction of 14 rinks on the pond next to the resort.
Seven teams from the Haliburton area entered the tournament, one of which won the recreational division.
Aside from a minor hiccup during the first day of the tournament – heavy snowfall made it difficult to flood the icy surface – everything went smoothly, Teljeur says.
Now he is in talks with the tournament’s sponsors, volunteers and several participating teams to determine what the next steps should be moving forward.
A survey will be issued shortly to players asking for feedback.
Including Head Lake in the festivities next time around isn’t out of the question, Teljeur says, but the tournament will have to grow.
“Pinestone would obviously be involved in some capacity,” Teljeur said about the tournament’s immediate future.
“I own the event and all the rights so it is really up to me what the next steps with the event will be … the long-term strategy is to keep it here as long as possible, if not indefinitely.”
Teljeur, a Haliburton resident and former general manager of the Pinestone Resort, bought the tournament from the event’s former executive director, Neil Lumsden, late last summer.
Lumsden was becoming increasingly busy with his new job as Brock University’s athletic director, and was looking to sell the tournament.
The tournament was cancelled last year due to a lack of support and sponsors.
With so many friends and family accompanying players to the tournament, Teljeur says he would like to see the event transformed into a winter hockey carnival that provides everyone in attendance with something to do.
He also suggested introducing a corporate division in the tournament.
Pinestone’s interim manager Cindy Makepeace told The Highlander Monday that the resort is excited about hosting the hockey tournament in the future.
“I reached out to John earlier today so we can discuss the past weekends as well as hopefully discuss how we could work together again as a platinum sponsor,” she wrote in an email.
“We heard nothing but compliments about how fantastic the ice surface was.”
The majority of the teams stayed at the Pinestone Resort, but several had to stay at neighbouring hotels.
A total of 88 volunteers donated their time to make the tournament happen.
“Without them, this event wouldn’t happen,” Teljeur said. “Creating a fun atmosphere for everyone involved, it comes naturally to them.”
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.