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Girls Silver Stick this weekend

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Barry Wright

When Bryan Chappell came up with a plan almost two decades ago to bring dozens of hockey teams to Sarnia for the first North American Girls Silver Stick Finals, there were plenty of naysayers.

“You’ll never get it off the ground,” was a prominent sentiment before the tournament began in 1999, he said.

But, now in its 18th season, the tournament has become an integral part of the local sports landscape.

Teams from as far away as Colorado and Wyoming will be here this weekend (Jan. 22-24) for the Midget and Pee Wee finals. Twenty-six teams will participate in the four Midget divisions and another 24 will vie for titles in four Pee Wee Divisions. Last year, the vast majority of the teams were midget with only a handful of pee wee teams.

The tournament is a week early this year to avoid conflict with high school exams, and comes just a week after the annual boys finals.

Chappell says the arrangement to play the two North American tournaments over back-to-back weekends is not a long-term solution.

“I think a lot of hockey teams in Sarnia are not happy about losing ice for two weeks in a row.”

Three Sarnia teams and one from Petrolia will compete in the Midget division, while two Sarnia teams are on the Pee Wee docket.

Sarnia made it to the Pee Wee “B” finals last year, bowing to Livonia, 4-2 in the championship encounter.

Action begins on Friday at 9 a.m., with games all weekend at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, as well as at the Sarnia, Point Edward and Clearwater Arenas.

The finals in all eight divisions are Sunday on the two pads at Clearwater.

And while the on-ice product will be the focal point of the weekend, Chappell knows that whatever success is realized on the ice will be directly related to the tireless work of countless volunteers off the ice.

“They’re ready to go and they get their jobs done,” he said.













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