February 4, 2018
This will be the eighth trip to Quebec City for BWC Peewee A1 Head Coach Bill Hunt, who is heading up this year’s crop of BWC peewees contending for the unofficial Peewee World Championship title at the 59th Annual Quebec International Peewee Tournament, which gets underway February 7, and runs through the 18th.
The tournament attracts the top peewee talent from Canada, the United States and Europe. Previous editions of the tournament have hosted upwards of 50 future NHLers – including a high of 47 in 2001.
In that year, BWC’s Kendal McArdle and Ben Street along with NSWC’s Gilbert Brule and Ben Maxwell went on to play in the NHL. From the previous year, Chris Chucko, Mark Dekanich, Johnathan Sigalet, and Ben Street (a first year in 2000) went on to the NHL from the BWC team.
BWC have reached the finals once during Hunt’s tenure, in 2010, losing to 1-0 to Detroit Compuware, in the final minute of the game. BWC’s Matthew Barzal is one of five tournament players from that 2010 tournament year who have reached the NHL level so far.
There’s not much room for error in this tourney, due to its unique format, and the apparently random nature of matchups.
The format starts with 32 Tier 1 teams, organized in a pairs, in a single column.
Win your first game and move to the right hand side of the bracket, and play winner of the next team in the schedule that has moved on.
Lose and move to the left side of the bracket, and play your second game against the next team in line that’s also lost their first outing.
Win game 2, and continue to move on to either the right (winners) or left in your bracket. Keep winning and you’ll eventually move to the end of your bracket, and then cross over to meet the winner of the opposite bracket in the final, winner take all championship game.
Lose game 2 – on either side of the bracket – and you’re out of the tournament – relegated to the unofficial ‘rest of the tournament’, which is comprised of exhibition games set up in rinks around Quebec City, between teams that have eliminated from contention.
Another interesting wrinkle, all teams start game one in the city’s big NHL-style rink, formerly the Colisee, now the new Centre Videotron, a $400 million rink which opened in 2015.
Keep winning, keep playing in the Centre Videotron. Lose and you’re battling it out in a minor hockey rink somewhere else in Quebec City, scrambling to get back for the Championship game. Last year, 210,000 spectators watched games at the Videotron Centre, so the arena is almost full for every game, and buzzing with excitement.
Hunts says, “we tell the boys simply, our objective is to stay in the Show! It’s all about trying to stay alive in the big Barn as long as possible.”
But the trip to Quebec is not just about the games.
Hunt says he’s talked to kids years after about what they remember most. “They don’t remember the games, or the scores, or individual plays – they recall all the snow, and fun outside, and the crowds at the games. It’s great.”
In years past, BWC has often been joined in Quebec by cross-town rival North Shore Winter Club, and again this year, both teams are competing – the only teams representing BC this year.
Incidentally, NSWC also made it to the Championship game once, in 2012, losing to LA Selects.
The two Winter Club teams are currently #1 and #3 in PCAHA play this year. BWC are 18-1-1, with a 3-0 loss to Surrey (followed by a 5-0 W) and a 4-4 tie with Langley (followed by a 6-4 W), as the only two blemishes.
NSWC are 13-4-1, with losses to BWC, 3-1 and 6-3, and to #2 Semiahmoo, 4-2 and 3-2.
Both teams won their first two games in the tournament last year.
According to myhockeyrankings.com, this year’s BWC team, with a record of 37-4-4, is ranked #4 in Canada, and first in Western Canada.
In a recent trip to a tournament at the University of Notre Dame, in Illinois, the team went 3-1-1 against top US teams – winning 7-1 vs St. Blues, 6-0 vs Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, and 2-0 vs Team Illinois, before losing 3-1 to Chicago Mission, and tying Madison Capitals 5-5.
Chicago Mission are ranked the #1 team in the US; Team Illinois are #5.
So, should be a great tournament for BWC.
The team travels to Quebec February 2. After a couple of exhibition games, BWC start official tourney play on February 8, with a game vs Sherbrooke Phoenix, one of the top ranked team in Quebec.
Scroll down to see a list of the 32 teams competing in the top Peewee division this year:
BWC 2018 Peewee Roster:
32 Teams in 2018 Peewee AAA Draw: