Biggest Tourney Weekend Of The Year

Nov 30, 2021 | John Klinck


Busiest Dates on the Calendar Coincide with U.S. National Holiday

Food, family…and face-offs?

In what has become a tradition in the youth hockey world, the weekend following American Thanksgiving has become perhaps the biggest tournament weekend of the season. Turkey dinners, family gatherings, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and a whole lot of hockey action across the country.

It’s a wonderful way to skate off the turkey hangover, and it seems like each and every year, more and more teams are getting in on the Thanksgiving action.

When we say there was a remarkable amount of tournaments taking place across the country, we’re not exaggerating. 

There were 16 U.S. tournaments listed on the World Hockey Hub alone, and it’s easy to assume there were even more taking place across the country. Those 16 events took place in 12 different cities, with more than 1,500 teams in action.

In a ‘normal’ year, plenty of Canadian teams would take part in American festivities, partaking in some of the very tournaments mentioned below. Canada, however, had its own busy weekend of youth hockey, with tournaments like Silver Sticks; more on that later this week.

Here is a look at some of the highlights from the U.S. tournament weekend:

  • Some of the best 2005-born teams tangled in South Bend, Indiana, competing in the CCM Shootout on the campus of Notre Dame. Victory Honda made some noise, winning all four games. VH scored seven goals in three different games — 7-3 over the Esmark Stars, 7-2 over the Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs and 7-0 over the Chicago Reapers. All of the other participating teams played in five contests in the showcase-styled event, and Little Caesars, Gilmour Academy and Esmark emerged with 3-2-0 records on the weekend. The Jr. Ice Dogs finished 2-3-0, and the NEW Jr. Gamblers and Reapers finished 1-4-0.
  • The Smashville Girls Showcase brought top girls’ teams to Nashville for a jam-packed weekend that was connected to the Smashville NCAA Women’s Hockey Showcase with Boston College, Colgate, Mercyhurst and Minnesota. Bishop Kearney won the 19U division, Shattuck St. Mary’s won the 16U, and Little Caesars captured both the 14U and 12U divisions. Colgate won the college edition.
  • The North American Fall Championship crowned six winners in a Massachusetts-based weekend tilt; congratulations to the Minuteman Flames Gold (squirt major), Gold Dynamo (squirt major), 2nd Bandits (Pee Wee Minor), 1st Wizards (Pee Wee Major), 1st Mass Avs (Bantam Major) and Chelmsford (18U).
  • In St. Louis, top teams battled it out in the TPH St. Louis Cup. The St. Louis Jr. Blues, ranked No. 6 in the U.S. on the Hub, defended their home turf by winning the 11U division; the Chicago Fury won 16U and Carshield won 13U. Shout-out to Sioux Falls Power 13U’s Nathan Chorlton and Jr. Blues 2010 Alex Stiehr for leading the tournament in scoring; they both racked up eight points in four games.
  • And in Metro Detroit, the annual Nations Cup made things interesting for the 2007-2012 Tier 2 age groups, as the tournament pitted the east against the west. Each of the teams represented their region of the country, wearing a specially-designed ‘East’ or ‘West’ jersey that is inspired by some iconic NHL All-Star Game uniforms. Each team played five games against teams from the other side of the country, and at the conclusion of the weekend, the West won four of the six age brackets.

Was your holiday weekend filled with family hugs and exciting hockey? Tell us know about it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

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