Some of the best nine to 10-year-old hockey players in the province gathered at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace March 15 and 16 to compete in the Max Shute Memorial Atom A tournament.
After two days of intense competition, the hockey title has been awarded to the Bay Arena Rovers.
The Rovers narrowly defeated rivals — the hometown CeeBees — in the most anticipated match of the tournament.
Bay Arena’s Owen Sparkes scored the lone goal in the game, which kept the some 150 viewers on their toes throughout the three periods of play.
The Rovers earned its spot in the championship game after going undefeated in the preliminary round and in the crossovers.
In the first game, the team overpowered the Mount Pearl Blades, where it earned an 8-0 shutout. The big scorers of that game were Damien Laundry with three, Dawson Crane and Owen Sparkes with two apiece.
With a score of 8-2, the Rovers then ousted the Clarenville Caribous.
The team then went on to dominate the Marystown Mariners by a score of 10-3 in the final game of the round robin. Dawson Crane scored four goals and was credited for an assist, while Damien Laundry scored two with one assist.
The Rovers and the Mariners met again in the crossovers, with the same result.
The CeeBees opened up its first game with a 4-4 tie against Clarenville. The team continued on to defeat Mount Pearl 4-1 and Marystown 6-1.
In the crossovers, the CeeBees defeated third place team, Trinity-Placentia TeePees by a score of 4-1.
The TeePees also had success in the tournament, earning wins against the Mariners (4-1) and the Caribous (4-2).
Trinity-Placentia was defeated in its third game against Mount Pearl by a score of 7-1.
Although the tournament demonstrate great skill by young players from the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region, the amount of sportsmanship by all was recognized following the gold medal game.
CeeBee’s Cameron Byrne was given the first ever sportsmanship award at the tournament in recognition of his positive attitude and respect shown for fellow competitors. But Pamela Whelan, mother to a CeeBees player and announcer for the medal ceremony, explained it was difficult to decide because of the positive and friendly behaviour by all who participated in the tournament.
Coaches for the CeeBees, Rovers and TeePees met with their players prior to each faceoff, giving them words of encouragement, to tell them play their best and promote a clean and safe game.
Although a few on-ice penalties were called throughout the tournament, each player on every team demonstrated maturity and positivity during and after each game.
Although rivals from neighbouring communities, the Rovers and CeeBees demonstrated they could play a good game and stay friendly, even when they were playing against each other.
“What a game,” parents from both sides exclaimed after the final buzzer sounded.
Once the game was over, the CeeBees shook hands happily with the Rovers, and continued with their own celebration and words of personal accomplishment.
As the Rovers shook the CeeBees’ hands, they too congratulated them on their performance.