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:

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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One Team At Each GTHL Age Group To Keep An Eye On

The Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) resumed regular hockey activities on Nov. 1, but its teams have been up and running for a regular hockey season since October. That means plenty of hockey to analyze and start figuring out who the teams to beat are in the most storied youth hockey league in North America. Here are our teams to beat in the GTHL this season.

Toronto Jr. Canadiens – U16 (2006)

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens are the team beat to beat in the GTHL this season at the U16 age level. As we head into the third weekend of November, they hold a perfect 14-0-0 record, which puts them in the top spot of the Canadian Rankings, and No. 2 in the world. On Oct. 10, the Jr. Canadiens gave the Mississauga Senators their first loss of the season by a 6-4 final; on Nov. 14, they did it again, this time with the scoreboard reading 6-2 at the final buzzer. It’s early in the season, sure, but the Jr. Canadiens are picking up steam and its hard to see anybody derailing them at the moment.

Toronto Jr. Canadiens – U15 (2007)

Much like their 2006 counterparts, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens are dominating early in the season at the U15 age group, too. Checking at No. 1 in the Canadian Rankings and No. 3 worldwide, the Jr. Canadiens have a nearly flawless 10-0-1 record on the young season. The Jr. Canadiens kicked off their 2021-22 campaign against the Toronto Marlboros and picked up a 5-3 win. To make sure it wasn’t a bit of opening-game luck, they did the same on Oct. 10, beating the Marlboros 4-2. The Jr. Canadiens’ one tie came at the hands of Ottawa Myers Automotive, a squad that has played to a 13-7-4 record so far this season. We’re not counting out the Marlboros just yet though — an 18-2-1 record makes them a terrifying next-on-schedule for any of the GTHL clubs. 

Vaughan Kings – U14 (2008)

They won the Toronto Red Wings Early Bird tournament to bring in some early-season hardware, and the Vaughan Kings have won a whole lot of other games too. Ranked No. 1 in Canada and ranked No. 2 worldwide, the Kings have a 15-0-0 record alongside an 82-18 goal differential so far this year. Some of their wins have come against top competition, as well, as the Kings have taken down the No. 4-ranked Peterborough Petes, the No. 5-ranked North York Rangers, the No. 6-ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens, the No. 8-ranked Toronto Marlboros and the No. 10-ranked Elgin Middlesex Chiefs.

Don Mills Flyers – U13 (2009)

The Don Mills Flyers have been climbing up the World Rankings, and for good reason. They check in at No. 2 this week as their record grows to 14-2-0 on the season. In a recent battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2, it was Don Mills prevailing over top-ranked North York Rangers 4-3, and they celebrated by beating the No. 3-ranked Toronto Red Wings 4-0 three days later. Don Mills has No. 4 ranked Ottawa Myers Automotive next on the calendar, and they have also already beaten the No. 6-ranked Toronto Titans. One of their two losses came at the hands of the No. 7-ranked Sun County Panthers, the other a 5-4 OT thriller to the Huron-Perth Lakers.

Toronto Marlboros – U12 (2010)

It was a close call between No. 1 and No. 2, but when No. 1 has already beaten the team below it in the rankings, you have to go with the top dogs. The Toronto Marlboros have a 19-2-1 record so far this season, including a win over the No. 2 Vaughan Kings (a 3-1 final, if you were interested). Both of their losses have come to ranked opponents (No. 4 Toronto Jr. Canadiens in overtime and No. 7 Soo Jr. Greyhounds), and they’re outscoring their competition 96-28 in 2021-22. Other big victories for the Marlboros include two over No. 5 North York and one over No. 10 Oakville, as well as a win to avenge the OT loss to the Jr. Greyhounds. 

Want more coverage from the world of youth hockey? Follow World Hockey Hub on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest regarding top Canadian teams and players as well as other top programs and leagues from around the world.

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What To Watch For This Winter In Canada

Hockey season is heating up across Canada, and we’ve circled a couple key dates for the 2021-22 season. 

Here is our ‘Canadian Tournaments to Watch’ list for the coming months. Miss anything? Be sure to tell us about it at the bottom of the page. 👇

November

Rocky Mt. Classic Calgary – Nov. 10-14 – Calgary, Alberta

The ninth annual Rocky Mountain Classic U15 AAA Invitational serves as a huge kick-off event for western Canada. Notable past participants include NHL first-round picks Peyton Krebs (No. 17 overall in 2019 by Vegas), Sam Steel (No. 30 overall in 2016 by Anaheim) and Bowen Byram (No. 4 overall in 2019 by Colorado), as well as top 2022 prospect Matthew Savoie.

Blueline Tournament – Nov. 12-14 – Kitchener, Ontario

You know it’s good when there’s a 50th anniversary attached to this year’s event. The Kitchener Jr. Rangers will be welcoming some top teams to their neck of the woods for an early season battle at the U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, and U18 AAA levels.

International Silver Stick Final – Nov. 25-28 – Whitby, Ontario

It will be a little different than most years, with Silver Stick championships being decided separately between the United States and Canada due to border-crossing concerns. That said, some of the best teams in Canada will be fighting for those gorgeous trophies at the U10, U12, U14 and U16 levels in Whitby on the last weekend of November.

December

The Canadiens Cup – Dec. 3-5 – Toronto, Ontario

Sponsored by Sports Illustrated, the Canadiens Cup Tyler Cragg Memorial will bring together the 2007 through 2012 birth-years for AAA and Elite levels of play. Prospects By Sports Illustrated HD Live Streams will be available for all the contests, with pre and post-game interviews and a SportsCenter-like tournament wrap-up hyping things up for the participants.

Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic Tournament – Dec. 27-30 – Toronto, Ontario

The 28th annual Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic routinely brings top Canadian teams together, while most years also allowing a select group of American squads in on the holiday fun, too. In 2019, the Minor Midget final was an All-Michigan battle between Detroit HoneyBaked and Detroit Compuware; we’ll see if the American teams are able to head north to try to maintain their standing in the prestigious holiday invitational. 

January

John Reid Memorial U15 AAA Hockey Tournament – Jan. 13-16 – St. Albert, Alberta

The 42nd edition of the John Reid Memorial U15 AAA Hockey Tournament guarantees impressive hockey to kick off the calendar year out west. The event, which would traditionally bring western U.S. teams into the fold to battle with western Canada clubs, welcomes hundreds of scouts each year. You can understand why when you look at the alumni list, which features names like Jonathan Toews, Jarome Iginla, Matthew Barzal, Tyson Barrie and Colton Parayko.

International Silver Stick Final – Jan. 14-16 – Sarnia

A few months after crowning half of the Silver Stick champions, the U11, U13, U15 and U18 teams get a stab at adding some hardware in the Sarnia edition of the iconic tournament. In case you weren’t aware, the Silver Stick tournaments have been happening for 64 years now, and the winners’ names get displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

February

Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament – Feb. 9-20 – Quebec

When you visit the website, you are presented with a big, bold statement that says, “The most prestigious minor hockey tournament in the world!” I don’t think anybody can argue with it. The tournament is second-to-none, with teams across the globe flocking to Quebec with only a two-game guarantee just for the opportunity to compete against the best in the world. The tournament directors recently announced that the 62nd edition of the February tournament is open for out-of-towners who are vaccinated – depending on how the season plays out (and the rest of the world’s health dynamics as it relates to COVID). This might be the first massive youth hockey event with worldwide competition in more than two years. We can’t wait.

What did we miss? Fill out the form below and let us know what big events you’ve circled on the calendar for the upcoming season!

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