Approximately 100 teams from Canada and around the world will be skating into Richmond this spring for the planet’s largest adult recreational hockey tournament. Running from March 19 to 26, the beloved Molson CARHA Hockey World Cup, presented by Lulu Island Winery, will be hosting around 1,800 participants and more than 200 games. CARHA is the Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association, and is the dedicated resource and service provider for rec hockey communities in Canada.

Each of those games will be played at one of three Richmond venues, and hockey-loving locals and visitors are fully encouraged to come along and cheer the teams. Best of all, admission to every game is free! Keen to catch some great grassroots sport with like-minded ice fans? Here’s our exclusive insider’s guide to the upcoming ‘Olympics of recreational hockey.’

What is this Tournament About?

Launched in 1996, the Molson CARHA Hockey World Cup typically takes place every four years and is staged in a different Canadian city every time. Previous hosts have included Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. Run by CARHA Hockey, a national not-for-profit that promotes adult recreational hockey, it’s a celebratory, family-friendly extravaganza of games played between local, national and international teams comprised of recreational and competitive amateur players.

There’s plenty of action to see during the tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

Who are the Teams?

Many of the teams at this year’s event––such as The Simpsons, Whistler Winterhawks and Oldtimers Val d’Or––hale from one of the five participating Canadian provinces: BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. There are also teams from the US, Australia, England, Finland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine––which means this is your big chance to cheer on the Italia Veterans, Osteraker Mariners or Aussie Kangaroos!

There is typically a wide range of skill levels on display throughout the tournament, including energetic rookies, enthusiastic old-timers and ex-professional players with plenty of well-oiled moves to show off.

Players of all ages compete during the popular tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

How is the Tournament Organized?

The teams are divided into divisions based on age and skill levels. Age categories range in increments from 19+ to 70+ and there is also a women’s division. Within each division, the teams play and progress throughout the week, with divisional semi-finals and finals on Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25. The games are played with a three stop-time period format (12, 12 and 15 minutes).

There’s also a highly competitive women’s division. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

Almost all the games are at the Richmond Olympic Oval or the Richmond Ice Centre. Games take place throughout the day from Monday March 20 onwards and can start as early as 9:30am or as late as 7:00pm. One additional event––the Feature Game––will take place at Minoru Arenas on March 24.

What is the Featured Game?

The most prestigious fixture of every CARHA Hockey World Cup, the Feature Game is a select division championship game. Showcasing the event’s highest skill levels, there’s always a great atmosphere––complete with plenty of crowd-pleasing razzmatazz. This flagship fixture (with its traditional format of three 20-minute periods) will be recorded for later national TV broadcast––but catching it live in Richmond is highly recommended.

The Feature Game is a highlight of the tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

How Can I Watch the Game?

Start by visiting the Community Experience section of the official website where the game schedule will be posted. As mentioned, admission to all games is free and, since no tickets are required, spectators can drop in whenever they want. Keep in mind that divisional finals are often busier. The Feature Game always has a great crowd and a great atmosphere and you’re advised to arrive at Minoru Arenas from 6:00pm for this one (the game starts at 7:00pm).

The teams always have a great time! PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

Do I Need to Bring Anything?

Dress appropriately for an indoor ice game and be sure to bring along your unbridled enthusiasm! The teams thrive on cheers and support and they love it when the crowds get behind them. Spectators routinely wear hockey jerseys, of course, and if you feel like painting your face with a maple leaf or the flag of another nation you are supporting, go for it.

Teams from across Canada and around the world proudly compete. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey.

What Else?

The teams have an Opening Ceremony at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Sunday March 19. The indoor portion of this event is not open to the public, but the organizers invite as many locals and visitors as possible to attend the ceremony’s family-friendly March of Athletes. Staring at 5:00pm from outside two of Richmond’s city centre hotels––the Hilton Vancouver Airport and the Sheraton Vancouver Airport––this is your chance to cheer on the participants as they promenade past in their country colours and proceed to the Oval. Lasting about 25 minutes, the parade is the perfect way to get into the spirit of one of Canada’s biggest grassroots sporting events.

The public is invited to watch the March of Athletes at the start of the tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: CARHA Hockey. 

Need more information?

Head to the CARHA World Cup’s dedicated Community Experience page for all the latest information and updates.

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Tourism Richmond