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Hudson teen organizing shinny to bridge communities

  • Matthias Thijs, right, with shovelling partner Andrew Mcarthur is organizing a day-long game of shinny this Sunday on the Lake of Two Mountains.
    Matthias Thijs, right, with shovelling partner Andrew Mcarthur is organizing a day-long game of shinny this Sunday on the Lake of Two Mountains.
    Photo credit: Peter McCabe/The Gazette

Matthias Thijs has been checking the weather forecast repeatedly over last few days.

The 12-year-old from Hudson loves hockey, and this weekend hopes to use a giant game of shinny to bring two communities together.

And what better way to build bridges than to have an ice rink situated on the ice bridge that links Oka and Hudson, or at least just to the side of it.

Thijs, who attends Grade 7 at Lower Canada College, spent most of last weekend clearing off a 130-foot by 60-foot surface of ice on the Lake of Two Mountains about 300 metres from the shore in Hudson. He set up a Facebook page and distributed flyers in both Hudson and Oka to promote the event.

Thijs said he got the idea for holding a game between the two communities in December, back when the NHL lockout and the Idle No More movement dominated headlines.

“I think this will be a good way to meet them,” Thijs said. “It will be pickup hockey. We won’t really count the score. We’ll just be playing all day.”

The long-range forecast for the week has called for snow and sub-zero temperatures for Sunday. If that forecast holds, Thijs said he’ll be out at the rink the whole day, from 10 a.m. until the sun sets, and will be joined by several friends from both Hudson and LCC.

But while shinny may be an unorganized game of hockey, Thijs has put a lot of thought into Sunday’s event.

He first had to wait until the ice bridge was open so he could access the lake. He then picked his spot, on the side of the bridge facing Ottawa. Then clearing the surface was no small task.

With a few friends, he started the work last Saturday, and then got some help from Louis Léger, who manages and clears snow off the ice bridge.

Léger drove over and cleared off most of the surface with his plow.

“That was great,” Thijs said. “But we still had to scrape off an inch and a half to two inches of snow which was all compacted.

“The first time we did it took the whole day, but I think if it snows again, it won’t take as long.”

As the main organizer, Thijs said he doesn’t plan to sit on the sidelines on the day of the event.

“I’m thinking about going there early and just playing all day,” he said.

Will there be something to keep players warm?

“I’m not sure yet about the hot chocolate; I’m still working on it,” Thijs said, saying he’s hoping to secure a sponsor to provide the hot beverage.

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews
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One comment

  1. By Mary Schroeder

    Way to go, Matti!!!

    Hope there will be lots of players that show up and everyone has loads of fun, and enjoy meeting and making new friends!

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