Champs end season with a bang

By Jasmine Franklin

Novice and atom hockey teams across the province will end the season with a final bang this weekend in the tournament of champions.

For the 14th year, novice and atom players get a chance to celebrate their regular season success, travel and have one more opportunity to come out on top.

Running March 26 to 28, the five communities of Ponoka, Innisfail, Oldes, Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin will be hosts to 160 teams in Alberta. Each community will have 32 teams competing.

“It’s neat because these age groups of players don’t get to travel or really have a wrap-up game,” said tournament organizer Tom McKinlay. “This event has really taken off and just continues to keep growing, it’s awesome!”

Teams are placed with other teams of the same skill level McKinlay said to ensure “it makes the games competitive.”

Running from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every night, Ponoka will host opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. March 26.

The team travelling the furthest distance to Ponoka for the tournament is the Wetherbee Warriors from the Yukon.

“This is great for communities too,” McKinlay said. “Every hotel in central Alberta is booked right now.”

Each player receives a medal and the winners of the tournament get special “champion” medals.