One of the biggest minor hockey tournaments on the globe came to an end on New Year’s Day with the conclusion of the Bell Capital Cup.
The yearly event caters to nine- to 13-year-olds and is known worldwide for its quality hockey, camaraderie and outstanding hospitality.
This year’s tournament attracted approximately 4,700 male and female players from Canada, the United States and Europe.
Almost 1,000 hours of hockey and 600 games were played on 23 ice surfaces across Ottawa over the five-day event.
Champions were crowned in 16 boys divisions, two girl groupings and 10 special hockey teams from Atom House League to Major Peewee AAA.
Teams vying for the Allen J. MacDonald Trophy as champion of their respective groups had the thrill of skating on Canadian Tire Centre, the home of the NHL Ottawa Senators in their final match-ups.
“Every year is a huge undertaking with the execution of the event sometimes posing small challenges but in the end it’s all about putting smiles on the kid’s faces,” said Tournament Manager Scott Lawryk.
“The idea behind the tournament is to bring everyone together from different parts of North American and the world to celebrate the game of hockey.”
The Gloucester Rangers (Ottawa, Ont.) won the Major Peewee AA and Minor Peewee AAA divisions, becoming the only minor hockey association with two championships.
On New Year’s Eve, the Major Peewee AA Rangers proudly skated around Canadian Tire Centre ice with the Allen J. MacDonald Memorial Trophy after defeating the Blue Junior Black from Finland 3-2 in the championship final.
“Beating a Finnish team in the final is definitely a storybook ending for the boys,” said Rangers head coach Kennedy Johnston.
“The whole experience of playing at the home of the Ottawa Senators along with the thrill of winning the championship is something I know I will never forget, it’s very special.”
After finishing No. 1 and No. 2 in round robin play, Gloucester (12 pts) and Finland (10 pts) ended up in the big game after squashing their opponents in the playoff rounds.
Initially, the Rangers lost 3-2 to the Timmins North Stars in their tournament opener, before rattling off three consecutive wins over American competition.
The Rangers winning streak was composed of victories against Winchester, MA (4-0), New England Jr. Falcons (2-0) and the Lancaster, PA Firebirds (2-1).
The Rangers qualified for the championship game with an exciting 3-2 semifinal victory over the Ottawa Sting that needed two extra periods to decide the outcome.
After taking a few well deserved days off to rest, Lawryk and his staff will begin working towards next year’s event.
“We have some down time to recharge but after that, the wheels are in motion once again with plans for 2017-18,” Lawryk admitted.
“Open dates at the Canadian Tire Centre have to be looked at, as well as booking ice time around the City. It’s an important first step in our yearly plan that needs to be in place.”
2016-17 Bell Capital Cup Division Champions:
Major Peewee AAA – Boston Advantage
Major Peewee AA – Gloucester Rangers
Major Peewee A – Ottawa Sting
Minor Peewee AAA – Gloucester Rangers
Minor Peewee AA – Ottawa Valley Silver Seven
Minor Peewee A – Leitrim Hawks
Major Atom AAA – New Jersey Jr. Titans
Major Atom AA – Voisins de Papineau
Major Atom A – Mississippi Thunder Kings
Minor Atom AAA – Saint Clair Shores Stars
Minor Atom AA – Rideau St. Lawrence Kings
Minor Atom A – Stittsville Rams
Peewee House A – Orleans Rush
Atom House A – Richmond Royals
Atom House B – Akwesasne Wolves
Atom House C – St. Isidore Les Aigles
Girls Peewee AA – Barrie Sharks
Girls Atom AA – Whitby Wolves
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