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Area girls’ hockey teams competing in Sarnia Silver Stick finals

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Tara Jeffrey

Hockey fans in Sarnia-Lambton are in for a treat when the 23rd annual Women’s Silver Stick finals gets underway next weekend.

“It’s just great hockey,” said tournament co-director Dale Kerslake. “The skill at each level only gets better over time, and the growth of women’s hockey is evident in the calibre of play we see on the ice.

“These are well-driven, well conditioned teams.”

More than 50 teams from across Ontario and the U.S. — including some from as far as Las Vegas and Colorado — will head to the Sarnia tournament that covers nine divisions (ranging from U-11 to U-18), six ice pads and four arenas, from Friday Jan. 6 through to Sunday, Jan. 8.

It’s the first tournament since before the pandemic, Kerslake said, and they’re thrilled to be back.

“We’re like a family,” he said of the core group of about 15 organizers, which includes co-director Wayne Scarrow, along with past director Bryan Chappell who launched the first North American Girls Silver Stick Finals in Sarnia back in 1999.

About 100 other local volunteers cover everything from game sheets to score clocks and marshalling, said Kerslake, noting that Arlanxeo has returned as the title sponsor.

“The boots on the ground for the weekend are key,” he said, adding that there’s still volunteer opportunities available.

The tournament, running at Clearwater, Progressive Auto Sales, Pat Stapleton and Point Edward areas, includes three teams from the Sarnia Jr. Lady Sting, as well as teams from the Mooretown Lady Flags and Lambton Attack girls’ hockey associations.

They’ll face off against teams like the Metro Detroit Jr. Jets, the Cleveland Lady Barons, Las Vegas Storm, Barrie Sharks, Windsor Wildcats and others.

Opening ceremonies begin Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m at the Pat Stapleton Arena.

“We’ve done a lot of tournaments together over the years, and have really formed a bond,” Kerslake said of the organizers. “It’s all for the love of the game, the love of Silver Stick, and the love of girls’ hockey.”

For more information, including a full schedule of games, visit https://silverstick.org/Tournaments/15965/

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