Almost 200 young hockey players locked the sticks over the past weekend. The novice hockey tournament had 7-8-year-old players on the ice at Affinity Place and Power Dodge Ice Centre for most of the days on Saturday and Sunday.
Nathan Hunt, who is the novice director with the Estevan Minor Hockey Association, was pretty happy with how the weekend went.
“It was pretty good, I’d say. All the kids had fun,” said Hunt.
The kids that showed up for the tournament were just a small portion of potential tournament participants for this age group.
“We had teams from Yorkton, Coronach, Moosomin, Radville, Weyburn, (Carlyle), all over the place,” said Hunt, noting that they had one team from Regina last year and probably will have them participating next year again, but this time the Queen City’s hockeyists didn’t make it to Estevan.
The Carlyle Novice 1 team won over the Weyburn Coyotes with a score of 14-1. Teams claimed gold and silver medals respectively in the A-side tournament. The Estevan Canucks defeated the Estevan Oilers 20-4, claiming bronze.
Estevan Knights won the B-side champion’s title overplaying Torquay Lions 18-9. Both teams were pretty beat up by the finale as it was their fifth game of the weekend, but they still had some fuel left to put up some good hockey.
The intense schedule was a part of the tournament’s attraction.
“Some (teams) had four (games). It’s a three-game guarantee. So every team that enters the tournament has at least three games in,” said Hunt.
And even though it seemed like a lot of ice time, being young kids healed quickly and were excited to get back on the rink.
“You’d be surprised, they played four games in one day and they had more energy at night than they did to start the day,” said Hunt.
Most kids joined the tournament for their love of hockey, but to make it a bit more exciting organizers prepared little giveaways for the players.
“For our tournaments, we gave out little gift bags. It was largely due to our sponsors more than anyone,” said Hunt.
They also had a big raffle table, sponsored by companies from Estevan and surrounding areas, helping the association.
“Once again I’d like to thank all the sponsors for making it possible and all the volunteers from Estevan. Everyone put a lot of time in. The families from here, when you do a home tournament, you sacrifice time to make it happen,” said Hunt.
He noted that they had a really good tournament committee this year that put a lot of hard work into it and put it together in under two months.
Every age group has its own tournament in Estevan once a year. The next one is the midget tournament that takes place on Dec. 6-8.