Barney McIlhargey pulls the canoe out of the icy Bow River while the rest of the Calgary ice canoe team get their practice for the annual Quebec Carnival canoe race. Calgary is the only city outside the province of Quebec that participates in this event.


In the chilly waters of the Bow River yesterday, one determined ice canoe crew braved the extreme cold weather in preparation for the annual Quebec Carnival canoe race.


The Calgary Stampede-sponsored ice canoe team is travelling east on Feb. 10 for the 40th annual Quebec Carnival canoe race, the only team outside of the province to participate, according to a spokesperson.


“This is a really big year for us. We’re going down to support and celebrate with the team Quebec’s 400th anniversary. It’s going to be our biggest showing yet,” Doug Fraser of the Calgary Stampede told Metro.


The local ice canoe team practised yesterday in the frigid waters of the Bow River, which one team member said isn’t nearly as cold as Quebec’s waters.


Team member Kevin Zazula said the team is excited about heading to the competition next month.


“We’re trying to get some practice in while it’s cold and it’s a bit cold but it’s pretty good,” Zazula said.


And when asked about the rules of ice canoeing, Zazula told Metro there are only three.


“The three rules of ice canoeing are don’t let go of the boat, don’t let go of the boat and don’t let go of the boat.”


More than 40 teams travel just over 3 km along the near-freezing St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Levis during the competition.