US and Czech Teams Join the Fray This Year
The 36th edition of St. Albert’s John Reid Memorial Bantam AAA Hockey Tournament kicks off Thursday, Jan 16-19 with 16 of the best bantam teams in the world in the competition.
Three US teams and a Czech team have been added into the mix of 12 top teams in Western Canada. The top 4 ranked BC clubs are all participating.
Going into the the tournament, last year’s winners from the North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver, are the early favorites.
The team is ranked #1 in Western Canada and has racked up an impressive 39-2-1 record so far this year, with 262 GF vs 38 GA and 23 shut-outs.
Six returning players are big part of the teams success. The offensive wave is lead by three vets, Jordy Bellerive, Justin Almeida and Brett Stapley. The very stingy D also include two more returning players, Connor MacDonald and Nolan Kneen. The nets are backed up by another returning player, Dorin Luding, who is splitting the chores with David Tendick.
The team’s coaching staff are also returnees; head coach Jim Dinwoodie and assistant coach Mitch Pinsky have guided several NSWC teams at the tournament.
Cross town rival Burnaby Winter Club is an equally impressive team, with a record of 40-3-3, and have handed the NSWC one of their two losses this year. The team has put up 259 GF vs 58 GA, with 19 shut outs. The team’s offence is lead by James Malm, captain Henry Rhyu, first year Ilijah Colina and Tyler Presziuso.
At the helm, veteran head coach, John Batchelor, who has taken him to the finals twice but has yet to win.
The two other BC based teams will also be in the mix. The two Lake Okanagan rivals, Okanagan Hockey Academy at the south end of the lake in Penticton, and the Pursuit of Excellence, at the north end, in Kelowna,
OHA is coming into the tourney ranked third in BC with a 31-7-2 record. PoE is ranked fourth with a 29-9-1 record, but may argue the point, having just posted a 4-3 win over OHA on Sunday.
The BC teams will not face each other in the round robin games.
The tournament is named in honor of long-time St. Albert resident John Reid, who was a passionate player, coach, and supporter of the game.
Last year’s event featured 94 participants who went on to be drafted in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. The 2013 champions North Shore Winter Club Hawks, prevailed over powerhouse Southside Athletic Club Lions in an exciting 3-2 OT thriller.
The John Reid Memorial Bantam AAA Tournament is one of the most scouted events of the hockey season and last year over one hundred Junior scouts, managers and coaches attended the event.
This year’s line up includes:
North Shore Winter Club (North Vancouver)
Burnaby Winter Club
Pursuit of Excellence (Kelowna)
Okanagan Hockey Academy (Penticton)
South Side Athletic Club (Edmonton)
St, Albert Sabres
Spruce Grove PAC Saints
Notre Dame Hounds (Wilcox)
Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Phoenix Jr. Coyotes
HC Kometa (Brno, Czech Rep)