The 43rd Annual Rick LaPointe AAA Bantam Memorial Tournament, hosted by the Victoria Raquet Club is underway.
This year, there are 12 teams in three pools. All are Tier 1 teams with the exception of the BWC A2 team. Teams include Anchorage, Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, plus five Lower Mainland teams – BWC A2, Semiahmoo, Chilliwack, Hollyburn and Abbotsford, along three Island teams – VRC, Nanaimo and Juan de Fuca.
Each team plays three games in the first round. Following the round-robin, the teams will be seeded into three flights according to round-robin record: 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The flights will then each have a semi-final and final game within their own flight.
Last year the VRC Kings won the tournament with a 2-0 win over the Kelowna Rockets in the final.
This year the Kings are off to a rough start, losing their first two games 10-1 and 7-1. Juan de Fuca and Nanaimo have both opened with two wins.
Rob Milliken is new head coach of the Racquet Club bantam squad, which won last season for the first time in 14 years en route to placing second in the BC provincial championships in March.
“We’re into a rebuilding phase,” said Milliken, well-known on the Island as a coach from the BCHL to major-midget.
“Last season was a big year for this team, but a lot of players graduated. So this is a development year,” added Milliken.
The top Island bantam teams this season look to be Juan de Fuca and Nanaimo, the latter of which won the elite South Delta tournament.
Here are the results so far in the early going:
|Chilliwack Bruins A1||6||9||1||3||7||-12||-5||0|
|Kamloops Jr Blazers||9||6||9||-6||3||2|
|Juan de Fuca||7||1||8||3||15||-4||11||4|