“It’s a fun, no-hit recreational tournament. The tournament is open to everybody – if you can play hockey or have ever played hockey in your life you are welcome,” said Sheldon Wilkinson, who coached the Canucks last year, but stepped down to take a position with the team’s executive as a director.
He said participants will be divided up by skill level and then randomly selected to teams of 11 players – a goaltender, four defencemen and six forwards per team – on the Friday night for the four-on-four tournament on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
The tournament will be played in a round robin format and with “old-timers rules” – no penalties or physical contact involved. Wilkinson said there will be lots of prizes for players, and door prizes and raffles for spectators.
The tournament is limited to the first 100 skaters and 10 goalies who sign up, and he said spots are already filling out quickly in the few days registration has been open. He said to register, players should email [email protected], go to the “Dawson Creek Senior Canucks Ice Breaker No Hit Hockey Tournament” on Facebook, or call him at 250-784-6500.
He added they will look to make the tournament an annual event if the response is good this year.
The tournament is in part a fundraiser for the Canucks as the team enters another season, which is expected to get underway in early November, though a regular season schedule has yet to be released.
Wilkinson said, so far, the list of potential players on this year’s roster looks promising, though they will need some more players.
“The shortlist looks to be a lot better than last year,” he said. “We have about 25 potential players, but we’re definitely looking for more, and anybody is welcome to come and skate with us every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at the Memorial Arena.”
He said about they expect to have about 15 returning players, including two local players – forward Jeff Taylor and goalie Lincoln Carriere – who have returned to the team after spending the last season studying abroad.
“We’re excited to have them back in town. They are both quality players.”
Wilkinson said those returning players give the team a good core on which to build upon last season, which saw the Canucks finish the regular season fourth in the West Division with a record of 10 wins, nine losses and one shootout loss for 21 points. The team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Spirit River Rangers, who went on to win in the finals, but he said that was a positive result given the team was rebuilding and forced to play with a short bench due to players leaving with other commitments.
He added they continue to look to build towards the future to ensure the ongoing success of the team.
The team is still seeking a new head coach, however, and Wilkinson is encouraging interested applicants to phone him at the number listed above, or Aaron Powell, director of hockey operations, at 250-719-8255.