It was a big weekend in the Elk Valley for minor hockey players.
The Fernie Memorial Arena hosted eight Atom teams from across B.C. and Alberta this weekend for a recreational tournament. The Elk Valley Wild, Lethbridge Vikings, Glenlake Hawks and Bow Valley Flames faced off against each other in Pool A while the Fernie Jr. Ghostriders, Glacier Avalanche, Flathead Flames and Coaldale Cobras battled it out in Pool B.
Junior Ghostriders team manager Alicia Clarke explained that this weekend’s tournament was a little different than your standard round robin.
“Fortunately, we had four teams that were really competitive in Pool A and four teams that were really well competitive with each other in Pool B,” she said. “We just did a round robin within the pool and then the top two teams played out again for the finals.”
In order to give all the kids, aged nine and 10 a chance to play competitively and fairly, there was no crossover between the two pools.
“It was a little bit different than a normal round robin tournament where the winners of the two pools play off against each other in the end. We just kept it within the pool so that the kids all had the best chance of having good, solid competition.”
In the end, the Lethbridge Vikings were declared the Pool A winners and in a “nail biter down to the last three seconds,” the Glacier Avalanche triumphed over the Fernie Jr. Ghostriders to be named winners in Pool B.
All of the participants in the tournament were rewarded with a medallion made by Wild Wolves Design in Fernie. Clarke described the medallions as “absolutely beautiful and so well received,” adding that it was a nice touch to have the medals made locally.
Another award in high demand at the tournament presented itself in the form of something unexpected: chocolate hockey pucks.
“For the Heart and Hustle and the Player of the Game, we did chocolate pucks from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and everybody was so in love with those and everybody wanted to earn one,” said Clarke. She noted that the pucks were given out by the coaches at the end of each game.
All in all, the weekend tournament was a big success. “It was lots of fun and the kids had a blast,” said Clarke. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase the love of sport in our town. It also gives kids a chance to play against teams from other places without having to travel so far for every game ourselves so it expands our playing horizons too.”