CARP – The weather was so nice last Saturday, we bet the West Carleton Outdoor Hockey League (WCOHL) wished it’s closing tournament was an outdoor event.
It was a great year for the oldest outdoor hockey league in Canada. Winter was long and cold, and volunteers got a great upper-body workout with all the snow that fell this season shoveling 172.1 centimetres of it between January and March 8. But the ice beneath was always frozen.
Fourteen teams of boys and girls from five-years-old to 15, kicked off the season Jan. 5 practicing one night during the week and playing games across Fitzroy Harbour, Dunrobin, Carp and Constance Bay on Saturday mornings.
On Saturday, March 9, the WCOHL hosted its end-of-season Gayla Weatheral Memorial OHL Tournament at the W. Erskine Johnston Arena.
“It was an awesome season,” the WCOHL released in a statement yesterday. “Thank you to all the conveners, organizers, parents, rink volunteers and players for all you did to make this the best hockey league in the world.”
Weatheral was a well-known community volunteer. She was a Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Asociation member and volunteer at St. Michael School in Fitzroy Harbour. She was renowned for her work with children and volunteering with West Carleton’s outdoor hockey league, t-ball and softball. In recent years she had obtained coaching certifications in three sports and coached seven teams in a single year. Weatheral was the WCOHL convenor for the Constance Bay teams since 2012. Weatheral passed away last August.
While the weather was cold enough this year for a long season, it wasn’t without its challenges.
Near the end of January, volunteer coach Ryan Keeling told West Carleton Online “all crews had to clear approximately six feet of snow from the ice. The freezing rain made the snow stick to the ice surface which meant crews had to try and scrape the surface clean. In most communities this was a manual effort using shovels. Once the ice was prepped then numerous floods were done in order to bring the ice back. Each community had different challenges.”
Today, (March 11), many outdoor rinks in West Carleton are closed as we are hit with what many hope is the beginning of spring. Above freezing temperatures are expected all week. The Rideau Canal is also closed to the public, organizers announced on Twitter.