The sun is shining and the puck is dropping on spring tournaments across the country. We check in on just a few in our 2017 Season of Tournaments. Don’t miss the full spread in our May edition, now available in print at your local rink and online here.
BC SPRING CLASSIC
The 2017 BC Spring Classic is at the end of the spring season for most hockey players across the province to wind down and prepare for the winter season. Teams in the ’02-’10 age divisions will be put in draws that will match them with competition that will be balanced from the rest of the spring.
“Most of the teams at this point kind of know the level of play, so it’s a good tournament to kind of end the season, because we tend to rank the divisions according to skill level,” said coordinator Kurt Dalphond.
After competing against the majority of the teams during the spring season, it is easier for teams to measure where they stand.
“By the time this tournament rolls around, you know where your team stands, you know what teams you played, which ones you want to avoid,” adds Dalphond who reaches out to teams before the tournament to gauge where teams are at.
Having a balanced tournament shows up when watching the competition on the ice and when the results come in after the game.
“You’re guaranteed good competitive games each time whether you win or lose, at least your having a competitive game. Whereas you look at the score at some of the previous tournaments, there’s so many blowouts,” said Dalphond.
All of the action will take place in Coquitlam, Delta and Burnaby from June 1 to 4.
BC MAYHEM TOURNAMENT
Competitors will be anxious to get on the ice for the 2017 BC Mayhem tournament in Delta, B.C. This marks the second year that AA calibre participants will be convening over May long weekend. Teams in the ’04-’10 age divisions will be bringing their best to make sure they don’t let up on the competition to take home gold.
The ’08 BC Blackhawks will be returning for another year of competition after going undefeated and leading the divisional round robin last year. The Island Stars will be back to defend their title.
The ’06 Okanagan All-Stars are also returning to BC Mayhem as they too went undefeated last year and are looking to enjoy the same success this year with another outstanding tournament.
BC Mayhem is put on by Inside Edge Training based out of Vancouver who look to help improve development of minor hockey players.
PACIFIC ELITE PROSPECTS SHOWCASE
The 2017 Pacific Elite Prospects Showcase is ready and anxious to tear up the ice in Vancouver, BC this year. The competition will spread age groups from ’03-’09 in Major and Minor divisions and 48 teams will be battling in their respective divisions to be crowned as the top of the division.
The BC Bears will be back to defend their Major Bantam title while the Vancouver Select Blues will be looking for redemption as they came up just short in last year’s final.
The tournament will be held May 19 to 22 over the long weekend with the championship games being played on the holiday.
The 2017 Challenge Cup will be the 25th anniversary of the tournament in Vancouver, BC. Teams are ready to solidify their names in history on celebration of the long standing tournament.
Novice (’09) to Midget (’99) will spread across the boy’s divisions and Peewee (’04) to Midget (’99) will cover the girl’s divisions. The Warriors Hockey Club for Midget Major will be back to stay on their winning streak after going undefeated in last year’s tournament.
The tournament weekend will be capped off with a skills competition that will be for Novice to Peewee boy’s competitors and Midget girls showcasing the skills in four competitions of fastest skater, hardest shot, best puck handler and a breakaway showdown.
The 25-year history of the tournament claims some remarkable alumni as Andrew Ladd, TJ Oshie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have participated in the tournament in years past.
ALBERTA CHAMPIONS CUP
The 2017 Alberta Champions Cup was welcomed with another successful year on the ice. The tournament, which showcases seven age groups and two host cities of Calgary and Edmonton, also had Okotoks, Leduc and Airdrie entertain action from April 28-30.
Organizers were happy with the amount of support from the players, coaches, officials and of course parents who helped make the tournament run smoothly.
“It went really well with our 21 divisions starting with our 2003 gold which was our top division that was played in Okotoks this year. ’09 was strong out of Leduc and we had a total 170 teams signed up which is a great crowd,” said tournament administrator Franziska Wessely.
The Notre Dame Hounds were the champions in the (’03 Gold) division and the SaskWest Wheat Kings took home the (’03 Silver) group. Royals Hockey claimed the PeeWee female crown, while the Firehawks flew away with the female Bantam title. Other Champions from the weekend were the 2004 Winterhawks (’04 Gold), North Sask Selects (’06 Gold), Prince Albert Generals (’08 Silver Minor) and Spartan Alberta (’06 Silver Major). A full list of winners can be found at albertachampionscup.com
TOP GUNS AAA
The 2017 Top Guns AAA tournament is well underway in Canmore, Alta. After beginning at the end of April, the tournament has named three champions to date. The Parkland Jr Eagles took home gold on the first weekend in the ’08 Gold division and the Foothills Phantoms won the ’08 Silver division. Team Alberta Black took the second weekend with a victory over the Kamloops Cowboys in the ’09 group. North Central Varxity Selects were named champions after winning their last five games in the ’02 Major Bantam group this past weekend.
“Very good hockey, it was clean hockey, the kids were playing fabulous, there was no cheap shots, nobody got hurt. The refs kept it real clean, there was no fighting, extremely disciplined hockey,” said tournament organizer and owner Cherryl Paulsen about the high level of play.
The tournaments have seen outstanding play from all divisions and was led by the support of parents. No lead has been comfortable in the standings so far in the early stages of the tournament that carries over three months.
“So far out of the three tournaments, two of the games, first versus the fourth, the fourth place team has beaten the first place team to go on to the gold medal [game],” added Paulsen.
Next on the ice will be the Minor Atom (’07) group from May 12-14 with both Gold and Silver divisions taking part in the tournament.
Returning for its sixth year on the ice, Havoc Hockey Elite Invitational Tournament is ready to host top talent in Calgary, Alta. The tournament spreads over three weekends with (’05 Elite) starting off the first week. It also hosts ’04 and ’06 Elite and the event wraps up with U10 and U12 Female along with ’09 Silver and ’10 Gold and Silver on the final weekend of May.
The Vancouver Select Blues will be back in 2017 to defend their ’04 Elite title in the second weekend of action. Along with the Select Blues, 53 other teams across the divisions and groups are on the line-up to become champions.
Games will continue at Crowchild and WinSport Arena which is located in Canada Olympic Park.
Nothing says Calgary like a stampede, that’s why this year’s Stampede Challenge is ready to rein in the competition from June 2 to 4. This year’s age groups will go from ’03-’11 and will include one team from the Czech Republic in the ’03 Gold division.
Having the opportunity to compete against players from around the world will give teams a chance to realize how special the game is away from home.
“It allows you to play teams and players from different places and it is important to play kids that come from different areas and to be able to recognize and understand that kids play hockey all over the world. That’s important,” said tournament manager Donna Kozun.
The tournament is always something that the players look forward to after a spring program and can be a way for families to come together.
“One thing about spring as much as it is development and everything else, it’s a social thing for kids and families and parents. So they look forward to that every year,” added Kozun.
Calgary and Okotoks will host games through the weekend with 113 teams playing in almost 300 games across all divisions over the three days in the tournament.
ONTARIO HOCKEY PROSPECTS CHALLENGE
The Ontario Hockey Prospects Elite AAA Showcase is ready for another year of competition as well as preparing the players to succeed on and off the ice. The tournament features a vast variety of age groups from U18 (’98), U16 (‘00), ‘01, ‘02, ’03 and ’04 in Kingston, Ont. and runs from May 12 to 14.
Players get the full experience of personal growth as experienced coaches are brought in to give them every opportunity to progress.
“We focus on the development of the player, so with our prospects teams that participate, we hire coaches that are experienced guys that were players or as coaches as well and their focus is on development,” said director Ryan Thompson.
As much as players are putting in their best work to stay in the best shape for the fall by performing their best on the ice, the main focus is making sure they can cultivate their own abilities.
“A lot of the time hockey focuses on the winning, ours is actually on the skill development of the player, coaching them throughout the game, developing them through the spring season and giving them those opportunities to actually learn a little bit about improving their own skills which they can then bring into their winter season,” added Thompson.
Outside of games, those who participate in the tournament are given chances away from the rink to further their progress.
“There’s quite a few opportunities outside of what they can get from just here, with our staff being able to scout and recognize competitors for additional development with some of the other programs whether it be some of the hockey academy’s that are now popping up in Ontario and the U.S.,” said Thompson.
The tournament continues June 2 to 4 with girls ’99-’08 taking over the weekend, while the boys group ’05-’11 wrap up the showcase on June 9 to 11
OTTF SPRING CLASSIC
The 26th annual OTTF Spring Classic ran with another successful year of champions on the ice. Featuring age groups ’02-’10 ,the tournament’s success comes from bringing in teams across Canada as well as from the U.S.
Taking place in Toronto close to attractions of downtown, the tournament has drawn over 100 teams in all divisions to become one of the country’s top spring tournaments. It also boasts some elite alumni as Rick Nash, Ryan Kesler and Alexander Steen participated in the international tournament early in their hockey careers.
Out of the 24 teams in the ’02-’06 division, this year’s champions were the Junior Buzzers (’02), H2T Hockey (’03), Commandeurs College de Levis (’04), and Mississauga Saints (’06).
Registration is already underway for the 27th annual OTTF Spring Classic in 2018.
NORTH AMERICAN SPRING SHOWCASE
A tournament that has been around for over two decades, the CCHA North American Spring Showcase returns for another year. Founded back in 1991, the competition features AA, AAA, and Elite AAA groups (’02-’11) challenging each other in some of the best facilities in Toronto as teams from across Canada and the U.S. participate in the annual tournament.
This year’s tournament will take place from June 2 to 4. Over 140 teams took part in last year’s 17 AAA and Elite Divisions, with even more anticipated for 2017.
The tournament is organized by CCHA, the Champion’s Choice Sports Academy.
TORONTO INVITATIONAL HOCKEY TOURNAMENT
This year’s CCHA Toronto Invitational Hockey Tournament was a huge success as 60 teams came together to battle it out at the Mastercard Centre for division crowns. Divisional age groups from ‘05-’11 took to the ice in the fifth annual event with some teams returning from the year before.
Pro Hockey claimed three division titles, with Team Chris beating Team Stealth in the final ’05 game, Team Litman defeating the Toronto Bulldogs in the ’08 championship game, and Team Bertolo also edging the Toronto Bulldogs in the gold medal game for the ’11 group.
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