The Stettler Recreation Centre was bustling this past weekend as the Stettler Bantam minor hockey team welcomed eight teams from all over Alberta for its annual tournament.
The tournament began on Friday, Jan. 13 and ran all the way until Sunday afternoon, with participating teams each being guaranteed a minimum of four games.
While the Stettler ScotiaBank Storm didn’t fare as well as coach Duncan Babchuk would have liked, he said he was overall impressed with how they played.
“In our games, we were usually leading in the first and second periods,” he said. It was only in the third that the Bantams seemed to “run out of gas,” letting the other team pull ahead.
The Bantams faced New Sarepta on Friday, losing in a very lopsided battle to the team.
“We didn’t play very well,” Babchuk admitted.
Saturday started off strong for the Storm, who crushed Tofield in a morning game 15-3. However, the team wasn’t able to keep up their energy and lost the next game, against Vermilion, 8-4.
That pitted Stettler against St. Paul in the quarter finals, with the team needing a win to keep alive in the final rungs of the tournament. Unfortunately for Stettler, St. Paul managed to tie and pull ahead in the last period of the game with a 6-5 win.
“We were ahead,” Babchuk said. “Then we had some penalty problems. Not bad penalties, but all the same it means that we’re short-handed on the ice.
Delburne went on to win the tournament, with Vermilion taking second and St. Paul third.
Though the performance fell short of Stettler’s hopes, Babchuk said the tournament was a good one, with teams well-matched in skill.
“You want to make it challenging,” he said.
He also praised the town for the excellent facilities and said the tournament ran as smoothly as it did thanks in part to the town now having two ice surfacers, meaning floods between periods went quickly and without waits.
A raffle and 50/50 brought in money for the team, though Babchuk said the raffle wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was if it wasn’t for the community, who donated bottles as part of a bottle drive earlier this month.
“You need to spend money to make money,” Babchuk said. “Their donations helped us buy better prizes for the raffle. We can’t thank them enough.”
Other hockey action…
ATOMOn Sunday, Jan. 15, the Stettler Atom A Elks were in Didsbury, where they lost 7-4.
Stettler Atom B DYMY Storm headed to Big Valley on Saturday, Jan. 14, where they tied Olds 6-6. The following day, the team found itself in Strathmore, where they lost 4-1.
The Stettler Atom Female Storm were in Innisfail, where they beat the home team 7-4.
PEEWEEThe Dairy Queen Peewee A Storm headed to Blackfalds on Saturday, Jan. 14, where they trounced the home team 6-3. The team faced Red Deer 6 on Sunday, where they lost 6-1.
The Peewee B Kinsmen Storm were in Tilley on Saturday, where they lost 7-4 to Brooks.
On Friday, Jan. 13, the Stettler Peewee Female Storm were in Coronation to play the 3Cs, where they won 2-0.
The team played Lacoka in Lacombe on Saturday, and the 3Cs again in Coronation on Sunday, but results were not available by press time.
MIDGETStettler Midget A Legion Storm were in Canmore on Sunday, Jan. 15, where Stettler won 10-0.
The Midget B Vortex Storm were the only team to play at home with a late Sunday game, where they hosted Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake won 7-2.
The Stettler Midget Female Storm headed to Lacombe on Saturday, Jan. 14, where they beat Lacoka 4-2. The girls played Endmoor in Byemoor the next day, but results were not available by press time.