The Rossland-Trail minor hockey Bantam Rep tier 2 team is hosting its annual tournament at the Cominco Arena this weekend.
The Rossland-Trail Smokies will play host to the Spokane Jr. Chiefs – last year’s champion, as well Okanagan Minor Hockey league (OMAHA) rivals – the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) from Penticton, and a tough Westside squad from Kelowna.
Because three of the teams play against each other in the OMAHA league, the rivalries are heated and competition should be intense, said tournament director Dave Colquhoun
“It’s a really competitive league . . . really fast and hard hitting,” said Colquhoun. “If people want to watch some good hockey, I mean the times are good, and they can come out and enjoy a burger and support their team.”
The tournament attracts Junior A and Major Midget scouts to evaluate the upcoming talent. Local players like Cory Neil, Sam Swanson, Nolan Derosa and Chris Colquhoun should already be on their radar and will get an opportunity to further display their skills this weekend.
The team is made up of players from Rossland, Trail and Beaver Valley, even though Beaver Valley voted against amalgamation with Rossland-Trail minor hockey earlier this year, they have made allowances for rep players.
“Trail’s always been strong and Fruitvale’s always been strong, and putting them together even makes us a bit stronger but when you’re playing against Kamloops, Kelowna and Salmon Arm, I mean our population is still way less than theirs.”
Despite the disparity, the Rossland-Trail team leads the league with seven wins, only two losses and three ties so far this season.
The Rossland-Trail Bantams will also host the provincial tier 2 tournament this year.
The games start Friday at 4:30 p.m. with Rossland-Trail Smokies taking on the Spokane Jr. Chiefs followed by OHA vs Westside. The final goes Sunday at 10:45 a.m. See scoreboard for all times.