IMAGINE travelling halfway across the world for an outdoor ice hockey tournament, only to find out that the ice had melted when you got there.
That was the disastrous situation the Tartan Tearaways – a group of women ice hockey players from Scotland – found themselves in as they landed in Canada for the National Pond Hockey Championships last month.
The ladies team, which included Kirkcaldy’s own Trish Dingwall, were stunned to find out that the event had been cancelled at the last minute after the machine used to clean the ice fell through the frozen lake at the Deerhurst Resort in Ontario, meaning the surface was too dangerous to host hockey.
Even organisers blamed an unseasonal thaw for the cancellation, but for Trish and her team mates, who had spent thousands of pounds on travel and accommodation, that was of little consolation.
“The girls felt gutted,” Trish explained. “We’d travelled all that way for this specific tournament, and were really looking forward to it, but it wasn’t going ahead.”
However, their trip was salvaged by kind-hearted locals, who made arrangements for them to play in another event, the Get Rec’d charity tournament held at the Magna Ice Centre in Newmarket.
And as news of their plight spread, the lady skaters were also invited to play in other matches, including an open-air rink challenge match on Georgina Island against the local men’s team, where they also visited the local school to answer questions about Scotland.
Trish, who also helps run Kirkcaldy roller hockey club Torbain Tigers, explained: “Our host and mentor Mark Sadgrove had us on a very busy schedule as we were inundated with invites.
“We were soon playing hockey all over and visiting new places. We took part in the local women’s league, a charity tournament, were outside having games in the rain, as well as having the privilege to play an ice game alongside a group of adults with support needs called Community Living, run by very dedicated volunteers.
“We ended up having an amazing time.”
The Scots made such an impression that one of their team jerseys, which they donated, is to be put on display at the local ice rink.
“We are obviously very honoured and proud to have taken part and to hear that our jersey will be on view,” Trish added.
The girls were also gifted shirts, T-shirts, hats and hand-made gifts, but most important of all, according to Trish, was the hand of friendship they received.
“The support we received was incredible,” she said. “It turned out to be an incredible journey.”