Port Hardy Hockey hosts bantam tournament

PORT HARDY—10-team field scheduled for upcoming midget house tourney

Port McNeill netminder Jarred Jones deflects a shot as teammate Madison Van Will skates back to help during play in the Port Hardy Minor Hockey atom tournament at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena Jan. 31.

A bantam tournament held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Ice Arena in Port Hardy Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 ended in dramatic fashion.

The final saw Lake Cowichan take on Campbell River, said Port Hardy Coach and tournament organizer Bryan Heller.

Lake Cowichan looked like they were down for the count when Campbell River went ahead in the game 5-1, Heller said.

However, the team not only fought their way back to tie the game, but scored the go-ahead goal in the last minute for the victory.

Cowichan Valley (Duncan) came third in the tournament; Port McNeill finished fourth; and Port Hardy was fifth.

“Things went smoothly,” said Heller, offering his thanks to the volunteers who helped put on the event and to the teams who travelled to Port Hardy to participate.

While the weekend offered up some exciting hockey, Heller said the turn-out was a bit disappointing.

Typically local tournaments have eight teams participating. This one ran with five.

“We’ve always run full. This is the first year that we’ve been short,” Heller said.

“It’s a changing demographic, I guess,” he said, adding that perhaps things like economics and distance are having an impact.

“We worry about it,” he said, because tournaments are an opportunity for Tri Port players to see competition from outside the area.

“They really look forward to it.”

A peewee tournament scheduled for earlier this year had to be postponed after only three teams signed up, he said.

“They’re trying to reschedule it, he said.

On a positive note, the next big hockey event in Port Hardy will be a Midget tournament slated for Feb. 20 to Feb. 22. Enthusiasts will be able to see 10 teams compete.

“We took two extras,” Heller said.

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