The U15AAA South East Athletic Club Tigers were one of the last teams standing at the 49th annual Hockey Hounds tournament.
The Tigers took third place in the 14-team tournament with a 6-1 win Sunday against the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers for their first top-three finish since winning it all in 1999. They finished fourth last year.
Head coach Mike Mueller said the win to cap off the weekend shows their hard work.
“It’s indicative of the body of work we did all weekend, we lost one game throughout the tournament,” Mueller said. “In our six games in three days, our effort level, our execution and paying attention to details was off the charts. I’m just so happy for the boys.”
SEAC went undefeated in the round robin, beating West Central 4-3 Thursday, OHA Edmonton Varsity on Friday morning and tying St. George’s Academy 3-3 Friday night. The Tigers beat Pilot Mound 9-2 Saturday morning to put them within one game of the finals before losing to the Leduc Oil Kings 9-2. Leduc went on to lose to St. George’s in the finals, 8-3.
St. George’s has won four of the last five Hounds tournaments dating back to 2017.
Theron Bensler had a goal and two assists in their win against Fort Saskatchewan. Madden Wright had a goal and an assist and Carson Ward, Cartewr Allan, Ty Wasyluk and Ryker Watson rounded out the scoring with a goal each. Hudson Corbett made 21 saves in net.
Corbett says he grew up watching the tournament and it was a dream for him to play in it.
Mueller says he enjoyed his first Hounds tournament as a head coach with the Tigers.
“It’s a fantastic tournament and it’s a grind. There’s a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Mueller said. “But we’re very appreciative of the Hockey Hounds putting it on and facilitating it, because it was a great experience.”
The Tigers entered the tournament with a regular season record of 1-11-1 in the Alberta Hockey Elite League. Mueller says they’ll take the energy from the tournament success into the rest of their season.
“Coming into the tournament, we played through three real good games and then we’ll generate momentum from this, take it forward and we certainly want to get into a playoff spot,” Mueller said.
“We could have gotten first, but I’m still happy with the outcome and coming out with lots of confidence for the regular season,” Bensler said.
Besides finishing third, the Tigers did well at the tournament award show on the Saturday. Mueller was named best coach, an honour he gives the credit for to the rest of the team.
“While I appreciate the award, I think that it’s a total team award that reflects all the staff and players are on the same page and pulling the rope the same way. I am just the benefactor of that team success and dynamic,” Mueller said.
The Tigers’ other award winners were Wasyluk, named most sportsmanlike player, defenceman Kade Dickie receiving all-star honours and Bensler awarded the annual $2,500 scholarship for one SEAC player from the Maser family and the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“It meant a lot,” Bensler said. “I’m just so happy, I can’t even explain.”
The U15AAA Tigers have two regular season games this weekend as they hit the road Saturday to face the Calgary Bisons and host the Calgary Royals on Sunday.
Tournament stats and results can be found here:
U15AAA Moms proudly displaying SEAC jerseys at the Hockey Hounds Tournament, having lots of fun as well
The SEAC program strives to provide hockey players with high performance resources to promote lifelong success with Core Values of the Association encompassing:
INTEGRITY: the association and its volunteers to be honest, fair, consistent and ethical when dealing with members and their families.
TEAMWORK: working together to achieve common goals for the association’s overall success and excellence.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: development and adherence to financial accountability.
RESPECT: create a climate of mutual respect and diversity by recognizing all members contributions to the SEAC program.
COMMUNITY: seeking opportunities to unite the community we live in and develop prospects of ethical citizenship.
COMMITMENT: continuous improvement and value hard work and a growth mindset in the pursuit of excellence.