Stettler’s Bantam hockey teams shone last weekend as they hosted an invitational tournament that drew teams from as far away as Colorado.
The two Bantam teams hosted the tournament from Friday, Jan. 16 to Sunday, Jan. 18 at the Stettler Recreation Centre, with each division hosting three teams.
The Bantam A team hosted visiting teams from Lloydminster and Strathcona, as well as the Foothills Flyers, a team based in the metro area of Denver, Colo.
The Bantam B team hosted competitors from Red Deer, Barrhead and Hanna.
Both of the local teams reached the finals in their divisions and won. Stettler A defeated the Foothills Flyers in a 9-2 match, while Stettler B topped Hanna 7-3.
“I think it was a great weekend,” said Bantam hockey chair Andrea DeYoung. “The teams all seemed to have fun.”
She also said it’s a rarity for U.S. teams to join tournaments here, adding it’s the first time she’s seen one compete in her 10 years in involvement in minor hockey.
The Foothills team contacted organizers back in September to see if there would be room for them in the tournament.
DeYoung said that organizing such a tournament can sometimes lead to surprises with unfamiliar teams, but all went smoothly this year.
“You have no idea who’s coming, what kind of calibre (of players) they’re bringing with them,” she said, adding that the Colorado team “thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and thoroughly enjoyed Stettler.”
Every team got the opportunity to face each of the other teams in their division, with the top two teams in each division returning for the final on Sunday afternoon.
The Stettler A team began with a win on Friday, defeating Strathcona 9-0.
On Saturday they defeated Lloydminster 9-3, then faced the Foothills Flyers in a tight match, winning 3-2.
Likewise, the Stettler B team went undefeated, besting Red Deer 6-1 on Friday night. On Saturday, they defeated Barrhead 11-2 and beat Hanna 11-1.