Sylvan Lake’s ball hockey tournament sees growth in second year

Battle at the Beach was held in June with 58 teams from across Alberta participating

The second annual Battle at the Beach ball hockey tournament was so successful this year the organizers are looking at expanding.

Colin Fraser and Nathan Wade presented a report on the tournament, which was held in June along with 1913 Days.

The second year of the ball hockey tournament saw expansion from the first year. Fraser says the tournament had 58 teams participating, made up of around 400 kids.

Seven rinks were set up for the tournament, which allowed for 160 games to be played over the course of the weekend.

“The entire two days was jam-packed. We had teams from St. Albert, Edmonton, Calgary, Airdrie, Leduc and all over Central Alberta,” said Fraser.

“…They all stayed in town, camped, ate our food, drank our wine and just walked around.”

Organizers of the event estimate the tournament brought in over 3,000 people.

The tournament was also set up as a fundraiser for the Sylvan Lake Food Bank and Special Olympics.

Fraser said the participants brought in more than 50 lbs of food for the food bank and more than $1,000 for both the food bank and Special Olympics.

“We had a couple things set up for them to donate. We had a barbecue, a shooting range, just different fun things for the kids,” said Fraser.

The tournament also had a game for the Special Olympics which featured Special Olympians from across Alberta playing for an hour in Sylvan Lake.

“We have noticed that it has grown, and we think its going to get bigger… We have talked about adding an adult division,” Fraser said, adding the adult division is not yet confirmed.

Fraser said based on the size of the event this year, and with it likely to grow, more help will be needed.

He said they will be looking to add more local groups to lend a hand during the tournament.

“When we set out to do this, it was to have a fun event for the kids and it has quickly escalated into this huge event,” said Fraser.

“I think we can put this thing on the map.”

Details on year three of the tournament are still in the planning stages, but Fraser says with the positive feedback and the way it has grown from the first to second year, he expects it to be a big event.

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