Last weekend was the first hockey tournament of the season hosted by the Smithers Minor Hockey Association (SMHA).
Over 200 young players representing 14 teams descended on the Civic and New arenas to see how they had withstood the time off since last winter. There may have been some rusty skates and slow sticks but as the weekend wore on, hidden skills and forgotten talents once again came to the fore
While the Smithers squads did not top the standings in any of the three divisions, SMHA president Suzanne Rourke was impressed by the spirited play of the local teams. According to Rourke, the peewee Smithers Storm in particular was a small but dedicated team that took their losses gracefully on their way to a fifth place finish. The division was won by a strong Terrace team who dominated Prince George 10-1 in the final game.
In the bantam category, Smithers came in second after a hard fought contest with Kitimat. The score of 4-1 was no indicator of the closeness of the match. Going into the playoffs, there was a three-way tie between Smithers, Kitimat and Terrace in the four-team division.
“It was a very exciting division of close games and great competition. It bodes well for a terrific season for the bantam Storm,” said Rourke.
Teams from Smithers, Prince Rupert, Vanderhoof, Kitimat, Houston and Terrace were on hand in the peewee, bantam and midget categories. There were a few lopsided scores but at this early point in the season, those merely gave coaching staffs additional opportunities to assess their playing strengths and plan more for the remainder of the season.
Next weekend, Smithers will host the first in a series of developmental sessions for young girls who want to learn more about hockey. Those interested should email Suzanne Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.