Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — A team of former UConn hockey players held off the Feisty Beavers yesterday to walk away with the women’s division title at this weekend’s pond hockey tournament at the Muskoka Wharf.

The Huskies alumni put the boots to their opponents, 14-9, on a soggy Sunday afternoon to end the annual On The Pond Canada championships.

Warm weather, which delayed the annual puck drop a week, didn’t deter more than 250 men and women who competed on Lake Muskoka — and almost in it.

Players got in a morning skate Saturday, but by noon with the sun ablaze and a 6-degree temperature turning the 13 rinks into soft slop, organizer Rob Carleton told the 50 teams to pack their blades — but not their bags.

From then it became a game of boots and hearts as players took to the ice sans skates.

Competition ended by 3 p.m. the first day.

Overnight snow was of no help as the Celsius didn’t dip and Sunday morning began on the ice much as Saturday afternoon ended.

The play downs and championship finals had the players and their fans on their feet and in their boots.

With the rinks reduced to but better than road hockey, attempts to play with orange balls and even yellow tennis balls proved futile.

That’s when the Canadian Huskies harnessed their considerable shinny skills and it was mush on the slush.

While the Durham-based Beavers lived up to their Feisty name, forechecking with a vengeance, their NCAA-trained opponents (who teamed up from across the GTA) proved more deft at stick-handling the snowy conditions and scoring with much more ease in leading start to finish.

The UConn Huskies alumni team harnessed their NCAA women’s team skills to walk away with the women’s division championship.
It was all boots and hearts in the womens’s final of the On The Pond championship yesterday at the Muskoka Wharf in a good game that had fans and players on their feet throughout.
Tourney organizer Rob Carleton, far right, awarded the coveted ‘North America Cup’ wooden trophy to the over-50 championship team the Craftsman, an Ottawa area-based team, who won it for a second time.



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