TRURO – It’s almost like a Christmas after Christmas for minor hockey families in Colchester County.
The KFC Christmas Hockey Tournament in Truro and Debert and the Phil Sears Memorial Friendship Tournament in Brookfield provide a ton of excitement for players and families alike in that strip of time between Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
“There’s no doubt the players are so much more excited going into a tournament,” Truro Bearcats atom A coach Kelly Kolke said Thursday after his team nipped the Pictou County Crushers 6-5 at Colchester Legion Stadium in the KFC event. “It’s our second tournament of the season and there’s so much excitement on their faces, it’s amazing.”
But what is it that sets tournament play a notch higher than that of any other contest? If you hang around the rink at either one of this week’s events for any amount of time it doesn’t take long to find out.
The biggest factor is tournament play offers that championship prize at the end to the winner.
“There’s more on the line,” Mitchell Miller, a 12-year-old East Stewiacke resident and defenceman for the Brookfield Elks peewee squad, said following their 8-1 loss to the East Hants Penguins at the Phil Sears tournament.
His coach, Scott Gibson, said he can see the players put more pressure on themselves in tournament play as they become intent on taking home the event’s ultimate prize.
“They do their best and it shows on and off the ice,” he said. “I think they look further ahead. Instead of just the game itself they look forward to the medals and awards at the end of the tournament and they focus toward that.”
The same goes for the parents. Although they support their kids no matter the situation, the atom Bearcats were getting loads of support from the stands Thursday as parents hung on every shot, save and scrambling play as the final seconds ran down.
“From what I could hear behind me, they’re into it as much as the kids,” Kolke said with a smile.
Tournamet play is also an excellent chance for teams to build chemistry. Coming together for a common goal, hanging out at the rink together between games and travelling on the road and staying in hotels together all serve to bring players closer together.
“It’s a lot of fun,” atom Bearcats centre Hayden Kolke said. “It’s a lot more of a team atmosphere.”
Following are Thursday’s results from the Phil Sears Memorial Friendship Tournament in Brookfield:
Truro 2, Brookfield 8
Brookfield 7, West Hants 1
West Hants 1, Truro 3
Brookfield 2, Truro 3
East Hants 0, Truro Serious Sounds 1
Truro 8, Brookfield 3
Brookfield 2, East Hants 8
Truro Serious Sounds 2, Truro White 3
East Hants 2, Truro White 5
Brookfield 3, Truro Serious Sounds 3
PeeWee consolation East Hants vs. Brookfield, 10 a.m.
PeeWee Championship Truro Serious Sounds vs. Truro White, noon