With a handful of dignitaries from the Tri-port region, the Bantam Tier 3 Championship, kicked off Sunday at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena with opening ceremonies.
The opening processions which took place Sunday night, were a highlight of the championship, with friendly words of welcome from the Kwakiutl Nation’s Chief George Hunt Sr. (Namugwis), Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood, and representatives from the Port Hardy RCMP.
The opening ceremony also honoured volunteers, Mark and Anne Dumonceaux, without whom events such as the championship, or just local league games would not happen. The event has been months in the making, and involved bringing nine teams, from as far away as Whitehorse, Yukon to battle out for hockey supremacy, at the bantam level.
The event also highlighted the best of what the Tri-Port area has to offer. With visiting teams invited to explore Telegraph Cove, the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, and the Sointula Museum.
The Tri-Port team saw the ice twice on the opening day of the championship, playing an 11:30 a.m. game on Sunday and again at 7:30 p.m. The first match was against Dawson Creek, the match was a extremely physical level of play. The match although hard fought did not end in Tri-Port Eagle’s favour, losing 8 -1. In their second match, the Eagles came out on the losing end once again. Ultimately the huge positive of hosting such a high calibre event, the North Island may have had a rough first day, the matches that are played though out the course of the championship the Eagle’s earn dividends in skill.
“The player’s experience is wonderful. Being able to experience this type of play against some of the best from the other districts and zones is a great thrill for them. It’s great excitement and I hope they do well,” said Championship Committee co-chair, Joe McDonald.
See results in next week’s Gazette.