On Saturday January 28th Ottawa will be overrun with the greatest hockey talent on earth as the NHL’s biggest names fly in from across the continent for the All-Star game. Absolutely none of that talent will be on display at the Carlington Cup – the first ever neighbourhood shinny tournament in west central Ottawa’s Carlington community. What will be on offer, however, is a showcase of the game’s humbler roots, harkening back to a simpler chapter in Ottawa’s history.
Organized by the local community association, the tournament started with a desire to find a way to get neighbours meeting neighbours and most importantly, to get folks out of their houses through the long Ottawa winter. The result is an afternoon of old-fashioned Canadian hockey, the way it used to be played when locals–in Carlington’s case, mostly returning WWII veterans who moved into Ottawa’s original suburb after 1945–would meet up at the neighbourhood rink, catch up over a cup of something warm and make the most of the city’s harshest season.
Local teams made of up of friends, neighbours and in some cases total strangers will suit up to compete for the honour of being the first team to raise a cup that is distinctly Carlington’s. Crafted by Sarah Waghorn, a local set and prop maker, the trophy evokes the neighbourhood’s history with a nod to the distinctive post-war homes that still dominate its streets.
There’s still space for local players to sign up a team or as and individual. Solo players will be placed as part of a friendly neighbourhood squad. Families and spectators are invited to come out to take part in kids’ games, a skills tournament and pick up broomball games. Participants willing to brave the January weather will be kept warm with locally crafted chili and hot chocolate.
So while Scotiabank Place might have the big names playing under the big lights, it’ll be in Carlington where you’ll find a healthy dose of Canadian hockey spirit this All-Star weekend.
Amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing, Josh, and for rallying people to get outside and get involved in their community.