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Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Sher Boudreau

Hockey was alive and well in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge this past holiday season. Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey hosted it's Annual 'Night After Christmas' Tournament. Showcasing eager hockey players ranging from H1 to Atom.  The tournament was held from Dec 27th to Dec 30th and was at both Planet Ice and Pitt Meadows Arenas.

For six and a half year old Keegan Araki, this was his first hockey tournament. Soaking it all in, Araki who plays for Ridge Meadows H2 C4 was shredding the ice smiling all the while.

At the other end of the minor hockey spectrum, was the 2nd tournament happening in Maple Ridge. The Annual Juvenile Christmas Tournament was also held the same weekend at Planet Ice.  The juvenile division which is the eldest of divisions in minor hockey (18, 19, 20 year olds) had six teams from the Lower Mainland and one team from Vancouver Island.

Both tournaments showcased the very best in team sportsmanship, healthy competition and a love for the game. In a season where NHL fans were being deprived of their beloved game, local minor hockey is thriving and keeping the dream alive.

Whether it is a new player like Keegan or a veteran of the juvenile team, hockey is a long standing tradition for Canadians.

For organizers Penny Butler and Mike Lourens, the tournaments are like another child that needs constant nurturing, patience and stamina.  The gruelling hours of running a tournament take a toil on all the volunteers, families and players alike.  It is the drive to give kids an amazing sporting experience that keeps organizers motivated.

Ridge Meadows A1 affectionately known as the 'Moose', has hosted the juvenile Christmas tournament for the last nine years.  Coached by Derek Ferguson, Derek Bedard and Karl Ralph (all veterans of the very same team) faced all the competition head on and were victorious over their tournament and seasonal rival Langley.
While our gold medal hopes were quashed at the World Juniors. Minor hockey gold was shining brilliantly in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

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