Holiday house league tourney ready to roll

Barry Wright

While Silver Stick hockey tournaments abound in and around Sarnia over the next several weeks, another lesser-known tournament is also bringing together hundreds of players for some solid competition.

The 14th annual Tim Horton’s Christmas House League Tournament opens bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 29 and continues through the three divisional championship encounters on Wednesday, Dec. 31.

The Tyke, Atom and Bantam title games will be contested in that order, 75 minutes apart, beginning at 8 a.m.

All tournament games are at the twin-pad Clearwater Arena and all are free of charge to the public.

Though non-contact games, Tournament Director John Ritchie says that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive.

The 21 teams and 330 players take the tournament very seriously, he said.

The teams are made up of both boys and girls ranging in age from six to 14, and are each guaranteed three games.

“And this year we’ve introduced an all-star team format,” said Ritchie. “Each division will have 10 skaters and two goalies chosen to an all-star team based on the way they play in the tournament.”

Ritchie said the tournament affords an opportunity for players to bond with friends and families, while learning more about the game that they love.

He’s also looking forward to the March Break House League Tournament in March, when Novice and Pee Wee players will be showcased.

“It is already beginning to take shape,” he said.