On Saturday morning as organizers for Kitimat’s Peewee Tier 3 hockey tournament were readying for the tournament that started the next morning and a banquet event that night there was a string of things going wrong.
A team from Whitehorse was stuck on the other side of an avalanche and planes bringing three teams from the Lower Mainland weren’t coming in due to airport issues, said organizing committee chair Tony Velho, expressing good humour that’s only available from hindsight knowing how things worked out.
The tournament already had to change venues because the labour strike in Kitimat meant no chance to use the ice, moving the event to Terrace.
All of those early hurdles just meant anything that would go wrong would at the start, leaving the remainder of the tournament to proceed smoothly.
“Sunday morning the tournament started without any issue at all,” he said. “The opening ceremonies went well and the tournament as a whole was good, really good.”
Ultimately it was the Burnaby Winter Club which took the championship banner, winning 10-2 against Tri Port.
The Kitimat team put in a solid effort but as the gracious hosts they allowed others in to the finals.
Kitimat ended their first game, against South Okanagan with a tie but would follow with close losses against other teams such as Quesnel and Arbutus Club, which comes from an area near the University of B.C.
Peewee coach Cam McCulley said playing against teams from so many distant places is always challenging because it’s hard to prepare for how they’ll play.
Kitimat’s loss to Quesnel also shows how circumstances change, with McCulley noting that Kitimat, in past events, have beat them on the ice.
“You just never know who’s going to show up when they’re 11 and 12 year olds,” he said.
He agrees the tournament turned out very well and is thankful to the organizing committee for keeping things running well given all the early challenges.