The Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association (GTMHA) Bantam Tier 2 Smoke Eaters will host its annual hockey tournament this weekend at the Cominco, Beaver Valley, and Rossland Arenas.
The GTMHA Bantam Reps, coached by Darrel and Mike Boisvert, will take to the ice against teams from Spokane, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Campbell River, Nelson, Penticton, and Salmon Arm.
“The Bantam Rep Team is doing very well this year,” said tournament director Shannon Morris. “The team is facing their fare share of injuries, but still managed to make it to the finals in the Salmon Arm Tournament last month even though only having 12 skaters and were down to 10 for the final.”
The Bantam Smokies are also young with just six returning players from last year’s squad filling out the roster; including Tommy McConnachie (F), Bradley Ross (F), Owen Titus (F), Conner Seib (D), Jonathan Ballarin (D) and Joshua Ballarin (goalie).
Despite their youth, and having to fight through a rash of injuries, the team currently sits in second place in the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association (OMAHA) with four wins, two losses and four ties. Salmon Arm leads the division with a 5-2-2 record, with one of its losses and ties coming against Trail earlier this month.
The Tier 2 Bantams are hoping to be at full strength again in time for the home tournament with the probable return of Titus, Jonathan Ballarin, and Reilly McKinnon.
“We are hoping to make it into the final of our tournament and avenge our loss to Salmon Arm in the final of their home tournament,” said Morris. “However, the teams for our tournament are very strong so whichever teams play the best on that weekend will make it to the finals.”
Last season the GTMHA Tier 2 Bantams just missed the provincial playoffs going 2-1-1 with its only loss against the eventual Provincial Champions Penticton, and their tie coming against North Shore, the provincial runner-up.
“The coaches and team are working towards an excellent showing at provincials with a goal of making it into the top four at provincials this year,” added Morris.
For this weekend’s tournament, the teams are split into two pools with the GTMHA Tier 2 Bantams playing against Kelowna, Spokane, and West Kelowna in Pool A, while Pool B consists of Campbell River, Nelson, Penticton, and Salmon Arm.
The GTMHA Bantams will open the tournament on Friday at 2:15 against West Kelowna at the Cominco Arena, with the tournament wrapping up on Sunday with the final’s faceoff at 11:45 a.m. at the Cominco Arena.
See Scoreboard for schedule.