Greater Trail Minor Hockey: Bantam tourney on tap

Greater Trail Minor Hockey hosts its Bantam AA hockey tournament on the weekend.

While the Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy a rare Saturday night off, it doesn’t mean the Cominco Arena will be idle, as Greater Trail Minor Hockey hosts its Bantam AA hockey tournament on the weekend.

Eight teams from B.C., Alberta and Washington will descend on the Cominco and Rossland Arenas for the annual tournament that routinely attracts junior and university scouts to see some of the best Bantam players.

Teams will be split into two pools with Pool A featuring the host Trail up against Penticton, Castlegar, and Spokane, while Pool B consists of Calgary, Nelson, Kelowna, and Westside.

Many players will graduate from these teams looking to move into the junior ranks.

“There’s a lot of good skilled players,” said coach Terry Jones of the KIJHL’s Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

“They’re a good young group. It’s the way the development is, it starts with the young kids and hopefully they grow up and want to be Smokies and Nitehawks, that’s a good thing.”

Play begins Friday at noon with Trail opening up against Castlegar at the Cominco Arena.

Following the round robin, playoffs go Sunday with the tournament final scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Westside is the defending champion, beating Trail in last years final 7-3. However, the 9-4-1 Greater Trail AA Bantams can be considered favourites as the team currently leads the Okanagan Mainline Hockey Association Tier 2 standings with 19 points, two points up on Penticton and three on Westside.

See scoreboard on page 12 for complete schedule.