Terrace Minor Hockey Association (TMHA) will be hosting its first-ever rep tournament this weekend, in hopes of drawing more competition to the north.
The Cliff Sharples memorial tournament will become an annual event, dedicated to the memory of a longtime TMHA coach and president Cliff Sharples.
Sharples was also the coach of a special team of players who won peewee, bantam and midget rep provincials three years in a row as they advanced with minor hockey in Terrace.
Organizer for the tournament and co-coach of the Terrace team, Rory Reinboult said ever since the second sheet of ice was added to the arena there has been the thought to host a tournament like this.
Terrace has hosted provincial tournaments in the past, but never a regular season play tournament.
There will be eight teams facing off against each other, with the farthest travelling teams hailing from Ft. St. John and Quesnel.
The thought behind the tournament is to bring some competition northward, while keeping some hockey dollars at home.
Typically, Terrace rep teams travel south for competition three to four times a year, with a price tag that can add up to $8,000 per team, per tournament.
“It’s always hard the first year because we are not on the map,” Reinboult said, explaining that as the years go on and more teams come to the tournament, TMHA hopes that will change.
In a rounded-out hockey effort, there will be some retired old-timer hockey players helping out at the event, which will host a banquet the first night – something Reinboult said is not common anymore in minor hockey tournaments.
“It’s a little more camaraderie,” Reinboult said, adding it will be fun for the kids too.
Jeff Sharples, the son of Cliff Sharples, played on that team of three-time provincial hockey players.
He went on to have a successful hockey career, playing for the Detroit Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers during his time in the NHL.
Jeff will be flying to Terrace from Nevada to open up the banquet on Friday night.
He will speak in memory of his father, and offer inspiration to young players about a small town hockey player who made it to the NHL.
“It’s really an amazing compliment for my dad,” Sharples said. “It’s nice to be remembered, and what a great way to do it.”
He explains that his father put a lot of time and effort into the community in a lot of different ways and hockey was one of them.
“He was a great man, and our family is thrilled,” Sharples said.
He plans to talk to the young hockey players about something his dad instilled in him – be sure to give yourself the best opportunities by focusing on something and trying to do it to the best of your ability.
“As long as they are having fun, they are going to stick with it,” Sharples said.
“And then it is up to us as coaches and parents to provide the best way forward for them.”
“It’s an amazing ride…the hockey world, it’s been great to me and it’s given a lot of opportunities,” he added.
Lynne Nordstrom, president of TMHA, said the association is very pleased to host the tournament, and notes the extreme effort of Reinboult and other volunteers in the association who have made it happen.
“We are extremely grateful for how our community has supported hockey in this area and hope that this will actually ‘give back’ to the community by bringing teams and families from other areas to support our local area,” Nordstrom said.
“I look forward to a fantastic weekend of hockey.”