On Saturday November 12th, Champlain College’s Cabinet hosted their semi-annual Ball Hockey Tournament. This is a long-standing Champlain College tradition in which students use the tables in the Champlain College Great Hall to form a hockey rink and have a tournament for the day. The Champlain Cabinet makes its best effort to host this great event once each semester, and with the help of the Champlain community the tournament is an event for all to enjoy.

This year Cabinet members Eric Grimm (Chair), Cameron Lohr and Gavin Sample (Athletic Representatives) were the main organizers and opened spots for ten teams as opposed to eight in previous years. Sustainability and Community Representative Nick Warburton grilled burgers outside on a day that was beautifully warm and sunny for November.

The event is not only a hockey tournament to thrill and exhaust students, but also a way to get the Champlain community involved with Movember. This annual worldwide event that takes place during the month of November involves growing a moustache to raise awareness for men’s health issues. Participants usually include a wacky challenge when growing their moustaches in order to receive donations, although in the case of many young men, growing the moustache is a challenge in itself. The Movember Foundation is the only charity that raises money for men’s health overall, targeting major issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Many of the players at the Champlain College Ball Hockey Tournament were proudly wearing their Movember moustaches, and all money collected went towards Movember. Each team participating paid a fee of $10, further funds were raised from the barbeque, and the Champlain College Cabinet formally donated to the foundation as well. This amounted to approximately $300 being raised at the event for Movember.

In addition to being a fun event hosted by Champlain College Cabinet and raising money for a good cause, ball hockey can also be considered a form of creating a stronger sense of belonging within Champlain College and engaging more deeply in Canadian culture. Creating the rink itself with the tables in the Great Hall give a personal touch to the tournament. Previously, concerns had been voiced regarding the tables being used to form the rinks, as there were concerns for damage. However, Champlain students felt strongly enough about the tables forming an integral part of the Champlain tradition that they shored them up with pool noodles as a compromise. This is a great example of the pride, persistence and creativity that characterize the best aspects of the Champlain community.

Speaking personally as an international student, ball hockey was also about trying something new. Growing up in the Middle East, hockey is not a commonly played sport, and after my first nervous attempts at the sport last year, I found it a surprisingly rewarding experience. Being introduced to sport is an important part of culture. Through ball hockey I was also able to relate more with my friends and peers, imagining the parallels between my childhood and theirs—playing pick-up football (or soccer, as it is known here) growing up in the Middle East seeming, in principle, to be not so different than playing ball hockey while growing up in Canada. Being introduced to a set of lefties and righties and new tactics with how to manage a ball, I can say I had
outstanding experience.

If you missed out, look out for next semester’s games. As a sporting event that I would have never imagined I would enjoy, the Ball Hockey Tournament is a reminder that perhaps trying something different on campus this year will introduce you to something you love. The university experience can be a rollercoaster of horrible and exciting happenings, but it is definitely a place of self-exploration, and trying something new can always lead to unexpected, and sometimes great, results.