Coastal Classic PRMHA Novice Hockey Tournament was held over the weekend at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre from Mar. 1-3 with teams from Prince Rupert, Hazelton, Smithers, Terrace and Kitimat.
The Tim Bit hockey players are ages seven to nine years old and the event is organized by coaches and parents from the various teams on a volunteer basis.
One-hour games are played on half-ice and two games are played simultaneously. At the end of each game, an MVP and a Heart and Hustle Puck is awarded to players. Score sheets are kept, but no scores are recorded.
James Witzke, coach for Prince Rupert Grey, was interviewed and said: “The teams are participating in our fourth and penultimate tournament.”
When asked who the favourite team to win is, he said: “there are no winners or losers in this tournament, score clocks are kept to zero and nets are smaller too so that the keepers aren’t overwhelmed.”
Jeroen Gerritsen, proud father of River Gerritsen playing for Prince Rupert Teal and volunteer organizer for the event illustrated the huge amount of work that went into making the tournament a success. “Parents will sign up for shifts to help out and there is everything from 50/50 to raffle baskets,” he said.
Sitting in the stands and watching the games was great fun. The players showcased some budding skill with the puck and one game, for example, the Prince Rupert Greys vs. Kitimat Winterhawks, was a hard-fought game with some body contact and checking. Parents were heard cheering their kidsfrom the crowd stands and one mom said that Phenix Mackereth (No. 11) had scored some goals, but was tired in the game because he had been next door at the Children’s Festival during the break to climb walls.
Kitimat played some impressive hockey and kept the puck in Prince Rupert Grey’s half. “Most teams get four practice sessions per week but Kitimat has to travel to Smithers to use their ice rink and only get one practice a week,” said Roy Morgan who had made the trip from Kitimat to come watch his granddaughter Hannah Morgan play.
The Smithers team was awarded a trophy for ‘best dancers’ on the ice at the end of the tournament.
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