Story courtesy of Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News
For the 45th straight year, the Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds will be hosting one of the biggest Bantam AAA tournaments in Western Canada.
The annual Hockey Hounds Major Bantam Hockey Tournament will take place from Nov. 16-19 at a few local rinks around the city. It will be hosting 15 teams from out of province and one local team, the South East Athletic Club Tigers. In past years, the tournament has seen teams from multiple different states, but this year teams will be from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
“Since this is our 45th year, this year’s tournament is a little bigger for us than normal,” said Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds president George Hamel. “This is a tournament that started in 1972, and we started with eight teams. In 1986, we expanded to the 16-team format that we have now. It’s a great tournament for teams that wouldn’t normally meet to play against each other.”
With NHL greats such as Chris Osgood, Ray Whitney and the Niedermayer brothers taking part in the tournament in the past, Hamel says this is a huge opportunity for players to get noticed by Western Hockey League scouts.
“This is really right next to the WHL,” he said. “All of the WHL scouts from all four divisions will be there. Every team will have one, two or even three scouts looking for their next players. It’s a great time for the players to get noticed by scouts at that next level.”
With 16 teams every year, Hamel says there is always many more that are not able to take part.
“This is a very sought-after tournament, but we always keep it at 16 (teams),” he said. “This is something that a lot of teams want to take part in. If you think about small cities or towns in Alberta or Saskatchewan, they may never have a scout make a trip down there. With this tournament, it’s a few days where scouts are there. You can see the scouts talking after every game about what they saw out there, so it’s a very important weekend for the players.”
Hamel says anyone is welcome to attend any of the games. It is $5 per game, or $20 for unlimited access.
For tickets or a pass, go to the Hockey Hounds Arena, the Kinplex or the Moose Recreation Centre during tournament play.