Ball hockey is an important part of Canadian culture, and students from the electrical and computer engineering department hold a ball hockey tournament every year to bring people together and raise money for charity. The organizers and participants both had a fun time this year, despite low participation.
The High Voltage Classic fundraiser is an annual 32-hour ball hockey tournament that has been put on by the University of Saskatchewan Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student branch since 1985. Each year, the student group chooses a charity to give the proceeds to. Although there is a maximum of 64 teams who can register to play, this year, there were only three teams who registered.
Maisha Nasim, a third-year electrical engineering student and the organizer of the event, discusses what the event is about.
“This is actually our 33rd year of doing it. The ECE department [does] it every year, so this has been a tradition,” Nasim said. “We pick an organization, and whatever money comes from this, we give it to them. For this year, it is the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.”
The three teams who participated this year were the Bridge City Massacres, the Swamp Donkeys and the winning team, the Top Guns. Tyler Walker Young, a U of S commerce alumnus and a member of the Swamp Donkeys, discusses his team’s tradition of coming to HVC.
“We’re celebrating our ten-year anniversary of this team, the Swamp Donkeys,” Walker Young said. “[The event] was developed by the engineers in the ’80s to raise money, and then, it got really big, and now it’s down to three teams. But, it’s still here.”
The tournament is traditionally organized by the IEEE, but engineering students who are not involved with the IEEE also helped to put it together this year, Nasim notes.
“It’s amazing how all the engineering students just come out and help each other out,” Nasim said. “Some of the students are related to IEEE [and] some aren’t, but they’re all amazing.”
Although HVC is put on by engineering students, Nasim explains that the teams that participate are made up of various people, both students and otherwise.
“Over the years, more or less, it was always the same teams playing again and again,” Nasim said. “They are not all engineers. There are probably one or two engineering students, at some point, involved with the teams, … but they are probably family members of engineering students or most likely friends and neighbours they played hockey with.”
The ball hockey tournament took place on March 10, by City Hall downtown. Although there was a low turnout this year, those who did participate had a good time. However, Walker Young notes that he would like to see more teams sign up in upcoming years.
“I always have fun — I love this tournament. You get to play fun hockey, it’s Canadian, and my team is awesome,” Walker Young said. “It could be amazing if more people came out, because it’s so good.”
Nasim explains that the tournament first began in Saskatoon because of the tradition of hockey in Canada, as well as the engineering students’ desire to bring students together to raise money for charity in a fun way.
“It started because a lot of the students had friends who used to play hockey, and they used to play hockey as well, so they thought it would be an amazing way to [share] the tradition that we have,” Nasim said. “Hockey has always been a very important part of Canada, and it brings students together at the same time.”
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Photo: Maisha Nasim / Supplied