The 37th Annual John Reid Memorial Bantam AAA Tournament gets underway January 15th – 18th, with 16 elite teams facing off in one of the most highly scouted bantam tournaments in Western Canada.
Four BC based teams will again be among the favorites to win the tourney, including defending champions Okanagan Hockey Academy; last year’s bronze medal and 2012-2013 champions North Shore Winter Club, perennial rival and past winner Burnaby Winter Club, and this year’s favorite, newcomer Delta Hockey Academy.
Delta have pulled in many of the top 2000s from the Fraser Valley catchment area for the first year of their bantam program and have proven tough to beat. The team won the season opening Chilliwack AAA tourney, the Rocky Mountain Classic in Calgary, and most recently the KIBIHT in Kamloops over New Year, downing OHA 5-3 in a come from behind final.
Neither of the Winter Clubs competed in Tier 1 at KIBIHT this year, leaving the T1 competition basically a four way affair between the three top BC Academies, and the Edge Academy from Calgary. Both NSWC and BWC opted to focus on St. Albert and enjoy some down time over the holidays, rather than play another tournament.
Delta is 9-3-2 in the CSSHL, having dropped one game each to the Edge Academy (2-1), OHA (4-3) and PoE (6-1). It should be noted they bounced back on day 2 with big wins (8-3, 6-2 and 4-1) after each loss. OHA are two wins behind at 6-7-1.
North Shore is riding high at the top of the PCAHA league, with a record of 13-0-2, 67 GF ad 13 GA. Their last outing was an uncharacteristic 3-3 performance against 11th place Semiahmoo.
The team’s overall record is 41-3-2, with 178 GF – 56 GA. One loss occurred in a pre-season Can-Am Super Series tournament to LA Jr. Kings during tryouts, with some top players not dressed. The second was a 3-2 loss to Delta in the playoff round at the Chilliwack tournament after starting 5-0 and posting a 29-0 GF/GA record. The third was a 7-4 loss to #3 in USA Shattuck St. Mary’s at Denver Super Series tournament in mid-December.
The Winterhawks won the Medicine Hat Hounds tourney in mid-November, downing Colorado 10-0 in the quarters, Spruce Grove 4-0 in the semis and the Edge 6-1 in the final. They’ll be looking to repeat their 2013 performance in the Gold medal game.
BWC are solidly in second place in the regular season Pacific Coast play with a record of 11-1-3, 67 GF – 20 GA in 15 games. Their single regular season loss, was a 3-0 decision vs NSWC December 19. The Bruins, like the Winterhawks are coming into the tourney with their most recent game being a tie, 2-2 vs #3 PCAHA placed Richmond (8-2-5).
Many of the players from the the team that won the BC Peewee Tier 1 Championships two years ago are on this team, and they too will be looking to repeat that championship feeling.
Other teams in competition:
International Teams (USA)
Anaheim Jr. Ducks, Colorado T-Birds, Dallas Stars Elite, Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
The sons of NHL players Joe Sakic, Adam Foote and Sergei Krivokrasov are on the Colorado roster and Lev Bure, son of former NHLer Valeri Bure and Candace Cameron, who was D.J. Tanner on Full House, plays for the Kings. The Kings were finalists last year, and handed the NSWC their first loss in the pre-season game mentioned above.
South Side Athletic Lions (Edmonton), Sherwood Park Flyers, St. Albert Sabres (host).
Sherwood Park are leading the Alberta North division with a 19-5-3 record, 128 GF – 62 GA. SSAC are in second place with a 17-8-2 record, and were finalists in 2013, losing to NSWC 3-2 in Overtime. Host St. Albert Sabres are in third spot with a 12-12-4 record.
Calgary Bisons, Calgary Flames, Edge Academy (Calgary).
The Bisons are in first place of the Alberta South division with a 21-2-4 record, 130 GF – 46 GA. The Flames are in second place with a 15-4-8 record. The Edge Academy are in second place in the CSSHL, two wins and six points behind Delta, with a record of 7-8-0.
Yorkton Terriers – The Terriers play in the 22 team Saskatchewan Bantam AA league and are in first place with an impressive 24-1-0 record. The top four offensive players in the league are on the team, lead by Carson Miller with 41G-45A in 25 games. Two Taphorns are close behind, Kaeden with 32-46 and Keenan with 28-42, Brent Kemp 24-28 rounds out the top 4 for the Terriers.
This will be the Warriors first tournament out of the province, as Manitoba Hockey rules permit only one out of province tournament per year. The Warriors are 18-3-1 in the 12 team AAA league with 132 GF vs 38 GA.