Souris hosts inaugural shinny tourney

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SOURIS — The Souris River was home to the inaugural Rink the River Shinny Tournament Saturday, with teams rallying together to help bring the first off-leash dog park to the Town of Souris.

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This article was published 27/02/2022 (274 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SOURIS — The Souris River was home to the inaugural Rink the River Shinny Tournament Saturday, with teams rallying together to help bring the first off-leash dog park to the Town of Souris.

Rink the River Committee member Blair Penno and some friends had been playing with the idea of starting a shinny hockey tournament in Souris, he said. What started as a conversation between three guys playing a friendly game of hockey quickly turned into a massive fundraising event for the community.

The first Rink the River tournament served as an opportunity to get people out of the house and connect as a community while raising funds for a dog park.

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Volunteers resurface the ice during the Rink The River Shinny Tournament in Souris on Saturday.

The tournament featured a full bracket of 16 teams of four and 64 players playing three-on-three games shinny.

“It’s just supposed to be a little quieter, a little easier, not as competitive, just kind of relaxing and fun,” Penno said.

The tournament came together quickly, he added, thanks in part to the incredible support from the community. They began planning for the tournament in the second week of January.

“We knew once we posted it on the Internet we were going for it — there was no turning back, even if it was -40 C, we’re doing it,” Penno said. “I just want to thank all of the sponsors. Every single sponsor that stepped up we really appreciate, and all the volunteers that helped out to make it happen. We couldn’t have done it without any of them.”

He added organizers were grateful to Minnedosa community members as they provided ideas and tips on how to host the tournament.

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Johnny Williams (left) and Randy Cooke get ready to hit the ice on Saturday during the Rink The River Shinny Tournament.

The day went well, he said, adding organizers did have to adapt to some hiccups when it came to treating the ice on the Souris River. The natural cracks on the waterway were a little tricky to navigate, but they developed a system that allowed them to efficiently smooth the ice for play.

The hope is to make Rink the River a regular tournament in Souris. Next year will be a bit easier, as they have time to plan and have learned from the inaugural event.

Souris Dog Park Committee Chair Terry Doull and a group of other residents began working to bring a dog park to Souris about a year ago.

Doull brought his dog, Ellie, home two years ago, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He soon found out there was no park in town to let dogs run free.

“You can’t let your dog off the leash, and for a dog, it’s probably not the best thing in the world,” Doull said. “They need to play and play catch and stuff like that.”

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun The Leftover Barleys take on the Reston River Rounds on Saturday in Souris.

He believed there was a need for a dog park in town, and the committee, consisting of six members, soon came together over social media.

Once constructed, the fenced dog park will be a large rectangle and have a separate space for small and big dogs, along with a shade hut and benches.

The overall costs of the dog park is projected to be between $25,000 to $28,000. The goal is to see construction begin in June near the Souris Swinging Bridge.

This winter has been spent raising money for the project, with the hopes it will lead to the dog park breaking ground in the spring or summer.

People have a new appreciation for the dog park after living with the pandemic, Doull said, especially as more people have brought home furry family members as companions during periods of isolation.

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Players compete in the Rink The River Shinny Tournament Saturday in Souris.

“These dog people have gone up probably 20 per cent. You have dogs that haven’t seen dogs in so long,” Doull said. He explained there is a need for an off-leash park so people and dogs have the opportunity to socialize.

The tournament was a welcomed return to play, said Matt Houston, who hit the ice with his team, the Puck Daddies.

“It’s been pretty good. Not too often do we get to play outdoors during the year in a somewhat competitive thing like this, so it’s kind of nice,” Houston said, “The weather couldn’t be any better. It’s the perfect day.”

He joined the tournament to play hockey and support the dog park.

It was a unique experience playing on the river and neat to be a part of the inaugural tournament, he said, especially because it was in support of a good cause.

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Eric Eissner (left) and Lucas Tufts chop wood to heat water for the ice resurfacer.

Houston enjoyed seeing everyone together in the community, especially after two years of isolation during the pandemic.

It was different playing on the river, he added, as each sheet of ice felt a little different to skate on. Houston said the organizers did a good job of maintaining the ice, ensuring ease of play.

“The hardest part of being on the river is sometimes you have a couple of little puck battles in the snow,” Houston said with a chuckle. “That’s all right because it’s a different aspect of the game when you’re playing outdoors. It’s been fun.”

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Players from the Leftover Barleys and the Reston River Rounds battle for the puck.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Volunteers resurface the ice during the Rink The River Shinny Tournament in Souris on Saturday.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Johnny Williams (left) and Randy Cooke get ready to hit the ice on Saturday during the Rink The River Shinny Tournament.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Eric Eissner (left) and Lucas Tufts chop wood to heat water for the ice resurfacer.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun The Leftover Barleys take on the Reston River Rounds on Saturday in Souris.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Players from the Leftover Barleys and the Reston River Rounds battle for the puck.
Chelsea Kemp/The Brandon Sun Players compete in the Rink The River Shinny Tournament Saturday in Souris.
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