The Elk Valley Minor Hockey Association hosted a tournament in Sparwood this weekend for 10 teams from across Alberta and B.C.
The novice tournament saw players aged seven and eight face off against teams from Bow Valley, Bow River, Glen Lakes, Coaldale, Crowsnest Pass, Windermere, Fernie and two home teams from the Elk Valley.
Tournament coordinator Justine Bowen said that although tournaments like this are “a lot of work for parents and coaches,” it’s a great chance for the kids to work on their skills.
Bowen called the tournament a team effort, adding that “it’s a week of organization beforehand as well as having all the parents there volunteering to do jobs over the whole weekend.”
According to Bowen, the Elk Valley Kodiaks and the Elk Valley Grizzlies had an especially great time at the tournament, hosted on home ice.
“Our kids really love playing in their home tournament,” she said. “It’s fun to be playing on home ice and to such large crowds of people to cheer you on.”
She added that a home tournament is also great for kids in the community because it draws such a large range of spectators who might not usually attend an away tournament. She noted that the arena was full of parents of course, but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and teachers of the young hockey players.
“It is great for the community because we are bringing eight teams worth of parents to the area,” Bowen explained. “They shop at our local businesses, stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants. They may never have been to the Elk Valley before and often fall in love with the area and will come back again and again.”
While the tournament was great for the community at large, it was no doubt most appreciated by the young athletes who relish the chance to play against a wide variety of teams.
In the end, everyone involved with the tournament had a successfully action packed weekend of hockey.