WINNIPEG — An unconventional playing surface had a group of dignitaries out for a fun game of soccer on Friday.
In honour of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, local celebrities and a team of volunteers with Festival du Voyageur squared off in a roughly 15-minute match on the Red River.
The “snow turf” included players such as Mayor Brian Bowman, Canada’s Justice Minister Peter MacKay, federal Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, Ginette Lavack Walters, executive director of Festival du Voyageur, and Terri Apostle of “CTV Morning Live.”
“The snow is nice and soft… if you fall down it’s not a problem,” said referee Hector Vergara, executive director of the Manitoba Soccer Association.
“Here we are with a soccer field in the middle of the river. Who would have thought that you could play soccer in the middle of a frozen winter in the middle of winter?”
A faux fur soccer ball was used in place of the real thing — which given the temperature outside — was a better option in the event someone took a ball to the face. Former mayor Sam Katz was not present.
The public can get a chance to see other soccer games on ice at The Forks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup comes to Winnipeg in June — one of several Canadian cities to host the matches.