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BC Bantam Tourney kicks off Sunday at NDCC Arena

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
March 16th, 2018

From Hornets to Kings, Stars to Smokies, there’ll be a colourful and talented bunch of young hockey  players on the ice next week in Nelson.

Eight teams from all over British Columbia will be traveling to the Heritage City as part of the 2017/18  BC  Bantam Tier Three Hockey Championships.

The tournament, featuring some of the best 13-15 year-old players in the province, kicks off Sunday and runs through until Wednesday.

The tourney includes Mission Bantam A1 Stars, Penticton Bantam Tier 3 Vees, Powell River Bantam Rep Kings, Dawson Creek Canucks, Sunshine Coast Blues, Cranbrook Hornets, Greater Trail GTMHA Smokies, Terrace Kermodes and host Nelson Bantam Leafs.

Games start first thing Sunday a.m. at 8:30 a.m., and run all day. The Opening Ceremonies, which the public is welcome to attend, start at 7 p.m. Sunday night.

Closing ceremonies will be held after the championship game, slated for Wednesday at 8 p.m. The Nelson Leafs face off in their first game of the tournament at 11 a.m. Sunday versus the Penticton Vees. The Leafs play again that night versus the Terrace Kermodes at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re thrilled with the way the tournament is shaping up,” says Tournament Director Sandy Boyd. “The teams — some of whom are making huge efforts to get here from a long ways away — the long volunteer hours, the business sponsorship support, and the performance of the Bantam Leafs too.”

The Leafs captured the West Kootenay Hockey League Tier three title this season, reached the finals in every tournament they’ve played in, and won the Penticton Tier Two Tournament earlier this month.

The last time a Nelson team won the Bantam Provincial title came in 1969. That season saw a team coached by Marsh Severyn travel the province to capture the BC Minor Hockey Bantam Championship.

Some of the players included former National Hockey League stars Danny Gare and Pat Price as well as other professional players Marc Severyn and Dale McMullin.

Local players still residing in Nelson include Wayne Naka, who went on to coach in the Western Hockey League before returning to the area as a high school administrator, Allan McLeod and Jim Wolinski.

More than 250 people are expected in town for the tournament, which will provide a significant economic boost for the city’s retail, hospitality and accommodation sectors.

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