OKOTOKS - Eilte Bantam AAA hockey players in Western Canada will be converging in Okotoks and the Pason Centennial Centre for the Western Canada Bantam Championships, March 30-April 3.
This prestigious event features elite level 13 and 14-year-old male players in Western Canada, many of whom will be drafted in the upcoming 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. Five teams, representing all four western provinces, will compete in a round-robin format tournament starting March 31. The top two teams advance to the championship final on Sunday afternoon.
Alberta will be represented by two teams. The Lethbridge Val Matteoti Golden Hawks are the Alberta champions, after sweeping Sherwood Park in three games to win the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League title. Lethbridge will be joined by the host Rocky Mountain Raiders.
Other teams representing their respective provinces are: Winnipeg Monarchs (Manitoba), Yorkton Xerox Terriers (Saskatchewan) and Burnaby Winter Club (British Columbia).
“The Town of Okotoks and the Host Committee are very proud to host the 2016 Western Canadian Bantam Hockey Championships,” said Travis Thiessen, co-chair of the event. “This tournament is known for its prestigious role in the development of elite hockey players as they chase their hockey dreams and we are honoured for the opportunity to host the western province representatives and promote our town in putting on this event.”
Action gets underway on Thursday, March 31 with Yorkton and the Raiders opening the tournament at 9 am. Lethbridge faces Winnipeg at 11:45. All games are at the Pason Centennial Arena. The remainder of the tournament schedule is:
Thursday, March 31
- 9:00 am: Rocky Mountain vs Yorkton
- 11:45 am: Lethbridge vs Winnipeg
- 2:30 pm: Yorkton vs Burnaby
- 5 pm: Opening Ceremonies
- 5:45 pm: Winnipeg vs Rocky Mountain
Friday, April 1
- 9 am: Burnaby vs Lethbridge
- 11:45 am: Yorkton vs Winnipeg
- 2:30 pm: Rocky Mountain vs Lethbridge
Saturday, April 2
- 9 am: Winnipeg vs Burnaby
- 11:45 am: Lethbridge vs Yorkton
- 2:30 pm: Burnaby vs Rocky Mountain
Sunday, April 3
- 10 am: Third Place Game, 4th vs 3rd
- 1 pm: Championship Final, 2nd vs 1st
There also will be special events on Friday and Saturday evening, each of which have a limited number of tickets available to the public.
On Friday, April 1, the ATB Hot Stove Lounge will be held at the Okotoks Best Western Plus. The event starts at 6 pm, and features former NHLers Rob Brown, Rhett Warrener and Jason Wiemer. Tickets are $125 each or $800 for a table of eight, and are available by contacting Travis Thiessen at [email protected].
On Saturday, April 2, the tournament banquet will be held at the Foothills Centennial Centre. The event starts at 6:30 pm, and sponsored by the Western Hockey League. Tickets are $45, and available by contacting Marilyn Andrews at [email protected].
For updated results, tournament information, or to purchase game tickets, go to the tournament website.